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Healthy Economy


Industrial Land Preservation

  • Preserve and invest in industrial land and stable, affordable housing simultaneously.[i] Models: San Jose chose to prioritize industrial and manufacturing uses in its industrial land rather than convert it to office parks or housing while also promoting affordable housing development along transit corridors. In Indianapolis, the city and partners are re-investing in urban industrial corridors to revitalize manufacturing activity, increase employment opportunities, and stabilize nearby neighborhoods. This includes participation of community groups in the revitalization process to ensure ongoing advancement of equity goals.
  • Use zoning and policy tools such as Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMD) and Industrial Business Zones (IBZs). Model practices: Making Room for Housing and Jobs 2015 and Urban Manufacturing, [ii]
  • Pursue balanced mixed-use districts only in specific and targeted areas so as not to destabilize solid industrial areas essential for the creation of good jobs, the local jurisdiction’s overall ability to function and prosper, and the protection of local residents’ health from heavy traffic or industrial emissions. Model practices: Making Room for Housing and Jobs 2015. In Nashville, a private real estate developer is creating a mixed-use building of residential and light manufacturing, side-by-side, with a specific plan adopted by the Planning Department to create dedicated production space.

High-Quality Education & Training

  • Create a robust cradle-to-career education that equips low-income children with the skills they need to succeed by: [iii]
  • Expanding access to high-quality preschool for low-income families.
  • Ensuring excellent public education for low-income students through strategies such as the federal Promise Neighborhoods program.
  • Promote restorative justice practices in schools to keep youth in school and on track to graduate.
  • Coordinate with local educational and workforce training agencies to identify local and regional workforce assets and needs, high-opportunity industries, and existing vocation and educational opportunities for disadvantaged populations.
  • Encourage and support social service agencies to continue developing rehabilitation and preventive/intervention work programs for disadvantaged populations to access quality jobs.

Commercial Stabilization Tools

  • Incorporate commercial leasing education resources like commercial lease templates, and legal assistance into:

    • Existing economic development programs and services, such as educational events, business advising sessions, and small business outreach.
    • Residential tenant services
  •  Use tools like targeted business assistance and facade improvements. To learn more visit: PolicyLink’s Equitable Development Toolkit:
  • Support programs that enhance small business’ negotiating power, facilitate information exchange, and empower them to collectively request local partners’ services, such as small business mutual aid associations.
  • Promote collaboration between existing small businesses owners and organizations that can help merchants deal with common issues that arise during commercial revitalization processes, such as leasing, marketing, and capital needs in order to mitigate the risk of displacement.
  • Fund and support the research and implementation of policies and programs that ensure long-term affordability of commercial space for local small businesses, such as incubators and community land trusts

Inclusive Procurement

  • Require that local and/or diverse vendors are considered in Request for Proposal (RFP) pool.
  • Unbundle contracts and carve out opportunities for small, local and diverse vendors.
  • Expand vendor access to technical assistance and training opportunities to increase local and diverse business capacity in a number of critical areas:  including business development, doing business with a particular institution, or contracting with the government sector.

Financial empowerment centers (FECs)

  • Prioritize service offerings: FECs can offer a wide array of services to city residents, so it is critical to identify the greatest financial challenges facing the community in order to prioritize services.
  • Ensure language access: FECs should strive to offer services accessible to limited English-proficient individuals in their communities by providing written translation and oral interpretation in other appropriate languages.
  • Collaborate with community-based organizations: FECs thrive when they have strong relationships with community-based organizations, which serve as a point of entry to addressing many economic challenges facing workers and families.
  • Engage the private-sector: Private-sector partners can provide  critical resources to support city efforts for financial empowerment, including employees to participate in financial coaching, financial expertise and possible volunteers (especially in the case of banks), and philanthropic support for financial empowerment programs.
  • Collect data: Cities should establish clearly defined data collection procedures at each step of client engagement to assess the effectiveness and inform the direction of financial empowerment centers while safeguarding the privacy of clients.
  • Create long-term plans to sustain FECs, including budgetary allocations, professional training for counselors and other staff, formal relationships with private-sector and nonprofit partners, and program development plans.

Predatory Lending

  • Pass a one- or two-year moratorium on new or re-locating non-chartered financial institutions.
  • Ban from neighborhoods: A neighborhood ban disallows non-chartered financial institutions from specific neighborhoods. Existing establishments are grandfathered. The ban may be neighborhoods where there is a high concentration of non-chartered financial institutions (ex. San Francisco), or neighborhoods where there is a high concentration of low-income residents (ex. San Jose).
  • Set a cap, which creates a maximum total number of non-chartered financial institutions within the jurisdiction. A cap is especially useful for jurisdictions where there is a comparatively large number of existing payday establishments.
  • Set distance measures: Distance measures limit the location of new or re-locating non-chartered financial institutions based on their distance from another specified land-use (ex. San Mateo County).
  • Require non-chartered financial institutions to obtain a conditional use permit: While this does give local staff the opportunity to deny a non-chartered financial institution application, it does not provide local staff with policy guidance in making a decision about whether to grant the conditional use permit. (ex. Rialto, Long Beach)
  • Require a Zoning Code Verification Certificate: This certificate verifies that an applying non-chartered financial institution has met all of the relevant zoning codes. While this certificate could be seen as a duplicative process it establishes one more check in the process, usually at the level of the Director of the Planning Department. A special operating permit or a special permit serve a similar function.

Worker-owned Cooperatives and Employee-owned Businesses

  • Streamline business supports: Identify all city resources and processes related to starting a business, and streamline them into one-stop shops to facilitate the founding of new business ventures, including cooperatives.
  • Secure permanent funds: Given their collectivized structure, co-ops may struggle to secure traditional bank loans and business financing. Cities working to foster the development of cooperatives must consider not only how to fund their support services, but also how to facilitate business funding for prospective co-op ventures.
  • Select a co-op development partner: Co-op development centers and incubators can provide technical assistance for prospective worker-owners. Cities should develop selection processes to identify organizations that can help with education and training, and consider creating a co-op center if the existing resources are inadequate.
  • Create grants and loans: Using a combination of grants and loans, cities can develop sustainable support models to bolster co-op efforts, providing critical start-up capital and guidance.
  • Use conversions: Survey small business owners to identify those approaching retirement and provide information and support converting to a worker-owned structure.
  • Pass an ordinance that supports and incentivizes the growth of worker cooperatives by adding worker cooperative preference to existing Buy Local contracting preferences, creating business tax and land use incentives for worker cooperatives, and developing cooperative-specific educational materials to supplement the City’s business support services [vii].
  • Streamline regulatory processes and reduce land use fees and business taxes for newly formed worker cooperatives  [viii]:
    • Priority permits processing: The City should prioritize and expedite the review and permitting of such projects.
    • Streamlined conditional use permit processing: A cooperative business that would otherwise require a major conditional permit should satisfy the requirement with a minor conditional use permit.
    • Permit fee waivers: The City shall waive a percentage of the fees related to the following permits, as set by the City’s annual fee ordinance: Major, minor, and interim conditional use permits, Variances, Regular and small project design review
    • Parking requirement exemption: The City should exempt cooperative businesses from the off-street parking requirements, so long as the business remains certified as a Worker Cooperative.

[i] Tanu Kumar et al., “Prototyping Equity Report.”

[ii] Adam Friedman, Jenifer Becker, and Joan Byron, “Making Room for Housing and Jobs” (Pratt Center for Community Development, May 2015),

[iii] Treuhaft, “Building an Equitable Economy from the Ground Up.”

[iv] PolicyLink, “Financial Empowerment Centers,” All-In Cities Policy Toolkit (blog), accessed December 29, 2017,

[v] Tim Lohrentz, “Tools for Advocates of Limiting Payday Lending: How Your Community Can Limit Payday Lending through Municipal Land-Use and Other Ordinances.”

[vi] PolicyLink, “Worker-Owned Cooperatives.”

[vii] Sara Stephens, “Draft Worker Cooperative Ordinance” (Sustainable Economies Law Center, December 2015),

[viii] Stephens.