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Coming out as a human capitalist: community development at the nexus of people and place

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Coming Out as a Human Capitalist: Community Development at the Nexus of People and Place FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO Coming Out as a Human Capitalist: Community Development at the Nexus of People and Place Nancy O. Andrews with Christopher Kramer Low Income Investment Fund If poverty is a disease that infects an entire community in the form of unemploy- ment and violence, failing schools and broken homes, then we can’t just treat those symptoms in isolation. We have to heal that entire community. And we have to focus on what actually works. President Barack Obama, “Changing the Odds for Urban America,” July 18, 2008 Executive Summary Recent research is making the case that the communities we live in can help or harm us at every level–physically, socially, emotionally. These effects can stay with us for the rest of our lives. There is a revolution in knowledge afoot that demonstrates convincingly that investing in people, especially in children, is every bit as important as investing in markets and build- ings. It is important for the community development field to take this on board and, it is potentially transformative for our strategies and programs. Knowledge emerging from multiple fields–housing, early care, education, health care and medicine–all contribute to a transformation in our understanding of poverty: what causes it and how to fight it. This evolving understanding of the physiological damage caused by poverty, of the connection between community and health, and of how early investment can reverse this damage is so new that it is rarely synthesized. Yet, taken as a whole, we see a new picture for community development. Community development in the United States arose from the War on Poverty in the 1960s. But 40 years of trial and error have taught us a great deal about what works and what does not. We must adapt by developing a more integrated vision of people and place. We must understand that our vision cannot be community development al

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