Authors: Green For All
People United for Sustainable Housing, or PUSH Buffalo, is a grassroots community power building organization working to transform conditions of poverty, economic disinvestment, substandard housing, and racial and environmental injustice for low income residents and people of color living on the West Side of Buffalo, NY.
PUSH Buffalo’s Green Development Zone was recently named a finalist, and the lone remaining entry from the United States, in the Ashoka Changemakers international sustainable urban housing competition sponsored by HUD, the Department of State, and the American Planning Association with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation.
The competition has entered its final phase and winners will be determined based on the results of online voting.
With only two days to go, PUSH needs your help to pull off a homegrown victory for the green movement!
The Green Development Zone (GDZ) represents a paradigm shift in urban political economy and community development. Nearly 25 years ago, in the book Urban Fortunes (1987), the sociologists John Logan and Harvey Molotch published a comprehensive analysis of the coordinated operations of urban growth machines and how they work to undermine and exploit the “fortunes” of everyday people. With local and regional business elites at the helm, growth machines wreak havoc on urban landscapes through relentless capital accumulation, regressive tax and subsidy programs, and processes of creative destruction and gentrification that leave behind a trail of abandoned neighborhoods, polluted land, crumbling infrastructure, and impoverished residents.
As both a vision and a practice the GDZ serves as a corrective to the neoliberal impulses of the urban growth machine. It strives to put people first and deliver triple bottom line benefits - equity, economy, environment - to marginalized communities. The GDZ organizes and empowers residents to collectively develop and control resources like land, family-sustaining jobs, cooperatively-owned businesses, green affordable housing, renewable energy production and distribution, healthy local food, and public greenspace. The GDZ is also powerful. It operates as a launch pad for grassroots issue-based campaigns targeting local and regional growth machine elites, private utility companies, financial institutions, and governance structures that often conspire to lock people out, keep people guessing, and hold people down.
To learn more about the Green Development Zone and to vote for the GDZ, please visit the Changemakers competition website