May 5, 1997
Manuel Pastor of Latin American and Latino Studies recently coauthored a report entitled "Growing Together: Linking Regional and Community Development in a Changing Economy," which analyzes economic development efforts in Los Angeles in the wake of the riots that rocked the city in April 1992. The riots helped call attention to the need for economic development in low-income communities of color, but efforts to help the poor were derailed when Southern California's economy bottomed out. Policy makers turned their attention from the problems of the poor to the region's economic woes in general.
In the report, which was the subject of a one-day conference at UCLA on May 1, the authors assert that regional economic recovery and antipoverty efforts are "intimately linked." The region needs poverty reduction to grow, and the poor need regional growth in order to escape poverty, they said.
Drawing on research in both regional and urban economics, the authors found that regions "do better at sustaining growth when different social, political, and economic sectors are able to create trust and arrive at consensus around appropriate economic strategies." An econometric analysis of 74 metropolitan areas revealed that reducing poverty in the central city actually leads to more rapid income increases for all residents of a region. In conclusion, meeting the challenge of regional and community development in Los Angeles will require openness by business and policy makers and a new set of public-private partnerships, the report said.
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