Majora Carter, a New York-based urban revitalization strategy consultant, said at the recent Diversity Awards in Toronto, that building thriving communities calls for “a comprehensive approach that extends beyond meeting basic needs.”
In her keynote address at the event, organized by the Toronto Community Benefits Network, Carter spoke of the concept of “talent retention” as a model for neighborhood development.
“By leveraging lifestyle infrastructure, property ownership accessibility, and job creation, communities can attract and retain talented individuals, fostering economic growth and creating a positive environment for residents,” she noted.
Carter pointed out that low status communities often grapple with insufficient resources and “experience greater disparities in education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
“And these challenges result in talent repulsion, as residents seek better opportunities elsewhere.”
She also noted that “the negative perception associated with poverty can impede community development efforts and discourage residents from investing in their neighborhoods.”
“Addressing this issue necessitates a holistic strategy that promotes talent retention, encourages community pride, and fosters economic advancement for all,” she said.
She pointed out that talent retention involves “creating an environment that attracts and retains skilled individuals by offering the amenities and opportunities they desire.
“By developing lifestyle infrastructure, such as cafes, restaurants, farmers’ markets, and bookstores, communities can encourage positive interactions and a sense of belonging.
“Additionally, promoting property ownership and supporting business development and ownership can empower residents economically and increase their stake in the community’s success”
“Talent retention,” she said, “aligns the principles of successful companies with community development, ensuring that residents can benefit from economic growth and share in the value created and it represents a restorative economics approach to community development within a capitalist framework.
“It also recognizes historical biases and racism that have hindered equitable growth in marginalized communities. By creating inclusive opportunities for wealth creation, talent retention models seek to rectify past injustices. “
“Empowering communities to shape their own future is key to building stronger neighborhoods,” she noted.
“This approach acknowledges that successful businesses can contribute to
building great communities, ensuring that the benefits of growth are distributed
among the residents who have traditionally been left behind.” she noted.