I’ve written an essay discussing the emergence of Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) in the USA with a view to considering their applicability to Australian urban development processes. The Equitable (or Responsible) Development movement has endeavoured to mitigate the impacts of urban development and gentrification on low income and disadvantaged communities. CBAs have enabled community coalitions to broker benefits for local communities and neighbourhoods. The essay considers the implications of this in the Australian development and planning system, proposing that the types of community benefits that are brokered through local authority and developer agreements do not have the same kind of impact that CBAs in the USA have had. A further consideration in CBAs is that stakeholder engagement is a core pillar of Corporate Social Responsibility, which is largely under-developed in the urban development industry. CBAs and Equitable Development presents an opportunity for developers to enhance their corporate reputations while also delivering real benefits for disadvantaged and low income communities through the pursuit of social inclusion agendas.
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