Winning Against a Stacked Deck. Possible? Yes.
In a town not too far away, a young rebellious teen moved into a neighborhood where a conservative pastor was judge, jury, and executioner. There none of this and none of that on his watch. The young teen heard there was no dancing or music permitted within the town. With the whole town thinking he was crazy he decided to go against the grain, you could say the “deck was stacked against him”. He hosted a dance party that was the best dance party anyone had ever seen. He came, he conquered, he was Kevin Bacon. We can all kind of relate to this young man by the terrible rules and regulations that are not in our favor when it comes to urban development. Try making your voice heard by walking into your neighborhood developer. You can’t. We would all love an explanation for that and that my friends is the elite theory. This elite theory basically tells us that there is a very interconnected and well organized group of wealthy individuals, that are more than likely business owners, that control the decisions that are being made within the community, especially when it comes to big money projects. Yes, it seems bleak competing against money, especially with the little we have but there is hope. Just ask Emaleigh Doley, one of the founders of GUCDC (Germantown United Community Development Corporation). Her mission is to revitalize and maintain local business. Doley says, “There is a larger middle class presence than some may realize”. Her plan is to introduce people to amenities that are already in town instead of letting those business get bought out. There is a lot of money in Germantown but that money leaves for better opportunities and then when that happens the city, or in our case, wealthy private business owners, come in and build something that does little to nothing for the community as a whole. Doley is partnering with the American Planning Association who will offer advice for revitalization within the community. Who says you need money to make a change and fight back against big business. If this isn’t enough, ask the residents of Derbyshire who brought back to life a shop that had been closed for close to 20 years. People in the community came together and raised around $45,000. The residents realized that when local shops like this leave these villages “become soulless commuter communities”. Richard Moules, who helped launch the community shop, are having volunteers work and through that they have created a loyal customer base within the community.
“Community shops are no longer just seen as a solution for communities wishing to replace like-for-like retail services in rural areas when they are lost. Communities are also looking to community-ownership to stimulate social and community activity and to address issues such as social isolation and loneliness. For this reason, we see a bright future for community shops.”
So what’s deck of money and big business owners to a group of well-organized and determined group of folks within the community? Nothing but a house of cards.
Birch, Simon. “How Community Shops Are Beating Big Business.” The Gaurdian. N.p., 18 July 2014. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
Hagen, Carrie. “Community Organizer Brings Passion to Promoting Germantown Businesses.” Newsworks.org. Newsworks, 2 Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.