Traditional community development tends to take a fragmented approach to solving issues within the sectors of economic development, urban design, affordable housing, public health, and education. At Urbane Development, we believe that community development should leverage cross-sector efficiencies to create high impact private and public sector solutions.
Our work supports community anchor institutions that operate at the intersection of communities – on a spatial, social, economic, and environmental level. An anchor institution is a place where multiple elements of community development and growth occur in concert. It is a place where people in a community convene – whether it is a school, a place of worship, or the local corner grocery shop.
For example, when Urbane works with an existing food retailer, our outcomes focus on reducing the environmental footprint of the store, increasing revenue and profitability for the small business owner, and providing a clean, safe shopping environment with products that help communities obtain a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Yet, the power of the community anchor institution is the compound effect it has on a community’s development trajectory, producing benefits across that occur only when interest sectors commingle. A cluster of sustainable businesses and other anchor institutions working in concert together creates not only an exponentially-scalable compound effect, but a feedback loop that cycles resources – environmental, economic, and aesthetic – back into the community.