City Heights Informal Economic Survey

CUED recognizes that cultural sensitivities must be taken into account when considering the health of a neighborhood. This is true with social issues as well as with economic issues. In fact, CUED believes that the two are so related that one cannot be approached without considering the other.

In keeping with this belief, we have made a commitment to becoming familiar with City Heights not only as a low-income community but also as one with strong ethnic identity. Recognizing important cultural aspects of the economic activity in the home countries of various ethnic groups is vital to designing an economic development strategy that is both truly desirable and useful to City Heights residents.

Preliminary investigation has already revealed an interest in small business, giving CUED the idea of an economic structure specifically designed around informal economic practices such as food carts and markets, both of which are common in other cultures. Such practices may already exist, undocumented and under the radar. This could mean an entire untapped market of revenue that could be used for stimulating more economic activity.

However, more data is needed. What types of businesses are popular in home countries? What worked well there that could be brought here? What do the people of City Heights actually want and need? To answer these questions CUED is proposing a City Heights Economic Survey. Possible takeaways from a comprehensive survey could include the scale of informal economic activity in City Heights as well as its character; what needs are being met by informal activity and what does this say about what might be missing from the mainstream economy?

A thorough investigation of and interface with the community could also garner widespread community interest, involvement, and support. The backing of the community is integral to a successful bottom-up, grassroots approach to responsible economic development that actually factors in people-based nuances that would otherwise be overlooked. CUED truly believes in the potential of an informal, community-based economy in City Heights, and developing a survey is the first step. Progress is underway. For further info, questions, or to get involved, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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