Economic Democracy Learning Center
The Economic Democracy Learning Center will be a community-accountable education and leadership development institute in the Bronx. It will prepare grassroots residents, local entrepreneurs, anchor representatives, and other stakeholders to collectively build the economic infrastructure needed to support an equitable economy. Through decades of disinvestment in Bronx education and planning institutions, local stakeholders have largely been prevented from learning the key skills and concepts that enable them to strategize around and shape the Bronx economy and the ways it affects them. In order to build economic democracy, we must establish a broad base of local leaders who will lead the development of new economic infrastructure and enable them to scale up their strategies for building equitable economies.
As a first step in developing the Economic Democracy Learning Center, MIT CoLab and BCDI developed the Economic Democracy Training Series, a ten-workshop curriculum that helps grassroots residents develop a framework for how to develop their economy to support shared wealth creation and collective governance. The curriculum directly connects to the lived experience of those most affected by the economy and establishes economic democracy as the primary lens with which to view and make economic development decisions.
The Bronx has numerous institutions of education that help Bronxites understand the social, ecological, economic, and political challenges we see in our communities every day. Too often, however, the theories, concepts, and tools being taught come from the same frameworks of knowledge and practice that contributed to the problems the Bronx faces today. We must equip leaders from the grassroots, labor, business, and government to understand the root causes of these challenges and be creative and critical in building a different future.
We believe that the Bronx can build an economy that supports shared wealth and ownership and collective governance over economic assets—a concept known as economic democracy. This demands a significant investment in education for people from all walks of life to re-examine long-held beliefs about how our society and economy functions. Successfully transitioning our economic system towards one that is democratic, equitable, and sustainable will require people to learn together how to put people and planet over profit.
Looking for economic democracy training for you or your organization?