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CP113B: Community Development Policy Memo
Topic due: Wednesday, April 22 (11:50 p.m., bCourses, Section Assignment)
Memo due: Friday, May 1 (11:59 p.m. bCourses)
The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us – individually, it has disrupted our lives, our plans, our jobs, and
perhaps even our physical and mental well-being. In low-income communities—the focus of community
development interventions—these disruptions are creating significant suffering and uncertainty for families
facing job loss, housing insecurity, food shortage, health challenges, and isolation.
At the same time, community development has long been focused on addressing these types of challenges, and
the field offers lessons that could pivot government policies toward creating a more just and sustainable future.
Just as with the Great Depression, the current crisis offers the opportunity to forge a “new” New Deal. In 1933,
the New Deal envsioned a more progressive role for government, including establishing important social safety
nets like Social Security, protecting consumers through banking regulations, expanding access to mortgages
through FHA, starting the public housing program, and creating the Works Projects Administration (WPA), which
providing jobs with living wages for the unemployed.
In this assignment, you will write a memo that proposes one (1) policy or program that the federal government
should invest in to create a more equitable future coming out of this crisis. You can choose from any idea or
policy that we have addressed this semester (a list of ideas is provided below), or you can develop your own idea
for an intervention. Imagine you are creating a policy platform for the next President of the United States – what
would you want them to focus federal interventions on?
Your memo should be structured as follows:
First paragraph: Your first paragraph should state the problem you are trying to solve (e.g., income
inequality, low wages, lack of affordable housing, residential segregation). You should include one graph
or chart that illustrates the problem. (You can take a screenshot from a report or website, but make it is
high quality/legible and you provide a complete source/citation for where you got it from.)
Second paragraph: A strong, clear statement of what policy or program you are recommending, and in
your own words, the reason why you selected that intervention.
Third paragraph: A description of the intervention – what does it do? Who will it help? How does it
work? How is it funded (e.g., would the federal government provide grant or program funding, or would
it provide a loan guarantee or tax credit or regulatory stick to incentivize the private sector to
Fourth paragraph: What benefits does it provide? What makes it a powerful program? What aspects of
concentrated urban poverty does it address (drawing on Katz)? And how does it improve on past
policies and approaches to CD (drawing on O’Connor)?
Concluding paragraph: Strong summary statement on what you’re proposing and why the federal
government should include this policy or program as part of its “new” New Deal.
Sources and Evidence
We expect you to use data and secondary sources (including policy reports, planning documents, websites,
blogs, newspaper and academic articles) to write your memo. All references needed to be provided in the
Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, format.
In addition to the graph that helps to explain the problem you’re focused on solving, you are welcome (but not
required) to use additional photographs or charts to illustrate or present your arguments. Just make sure that if
you are taking a chart or figure from another publication that you accurately provide a reference.
Length: We expect your policy memo to be between 1,200 and 1,700 words.
Brief Description of Policy/Program: By Wednesday, April 22, 11:59 p.m., please upload to the Section
Assignment page your chosen policy/program and a short paragraph with ideas about the problem it addresses,
and why you picked this to focus on. This will be marked as Complete/Incomplete. You will be working on your
memo in Section on Thursday, April 23 or Friday, April 24, so this will give the GSIs an opportunity to make sure
you’re on track.
Final memo: Please upload your final memo as a PDF to bCourses by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 1.
Examples of CD Policies or Programs:
Lack of Affordable Housing
Low Income Housing Tax Credit
Public Housing
Mixed Income Housing
Upzoning/Transit Oriented Development
Inclusionary Zoning
Rent Control/Tenant Protechons (Just Cause)
Energy Efficiency/LEED
Community Land Trusts
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
Lack of Savings and/or Predatory Lending PracSces
Individual Development Accounts
Financial Education/Capability
Children’s Savings Accounts
Payday Lending Laws
Bail bond/Fees Reform
Lack of Economic Investments that Benefit Local
Residents/Lack of Employment OpportuniSes
Community Benefits Agreements
Worker Owned Cooperatives


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