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Community Wealth

Lessons From A Downtown District That’s Bucking National Trends

While many urban downtowns around the country are continuing to be plagued by office and retail vacancies, a 2.6-square-mile area in Memphis’s downtown is bucking the trend. In Memphis’s medical district, eleven new businesses opened last year — 10 of them owned by women and people of color, and supported by almost $150,000 in targeted grants. More and more district residents are now supporting these businesses, thanks to over 400 new housing units coming online. With dozens of events activating the district’s many public spaces, these new neighbors are welcoming tens of thousands of visitors: The Juneteenth Festival in Health Sciences Park welcomed about 12,000 guests alone.

Using Solar Commons To Decentralize And Share Solar Energy

Energy from the sun is sure one of the most pervasive forms of common wealth. So why not capture and share that wealth more widely with everyone? That's the basic idea behind the Solar Commons, a prototype project that uses revenue streams from solar energy and partnerships to build community wealth. The primary vehicle is a Solar Commons trust agreement among diverse community groups and the owner of a solar power array. The driving force behind this socio-legal innovation has been Kathryn Milun, a community-engaged scholar, writer and energy democracy advocate.
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