I envision the board of Neighborhood Economics game of inclusive wealth creation playing something like the Settlers of Catan, communities ecosystems and the resources that enable them to thrive. (We were creating a community wealth tool kit but a funder suggested we make it a game, and we think that’s a great idea).

Abundance of Catan, unlike Settlers of Catan, and unlike our current economy will not be about scarcity managed by the elites for their benefit. The creation of inclusive wealth is the goal of the Game. Game play will start not by appealing to city hall or Washington for change, but by enabling entrepreneurs to create wealth in each neighborhood in the city; starting with the neighborhoods in the most marginalized neighborhoods.

They are the most costly and dependent on services from outside their neighborhood. Creating job-creating businesses inside that neighborhood, seeing businesses move out of the kitchen into storefronts selling food, or other things local people need will create a positive ripple effect on the rest of the city’s neighborhoods, raising property values, lowering policing and social service costs and increasing the health of the entire community and the community’s wealth itself. Luckily a cadre of exceptional accelerators in places like Oakland, Cincinnati are showing how that can happen. We have a new financial instrument to enable people to invest risk free at above market rates in a CD in those businesses in their neighborhoods.

I expect a trademark infringement letter could be a branding event in two years, if things go right, and we have the community on our side it could be huge and foundational. I am making this game to outline the system I think should exist, that starts in the poorest neighborhoods and the most dependent. Finding the entrepreneurs there, creating the conditions for them to thrive and sell, hiring two or three employees, sometimes one will come along that has higher ambitions. But the bread and butter of the transformative process is enabling lifestyle businesses, some that don’t go full time even, to become enough additional income to enable a family to stay in a gentrifying area. Helping people remain in their neighborhoods as it becomes more affluent and new people come in is a goal that will create long term wealth in the whole community.

Wealth being created in every neighborhood is the focus of the game. And wealth creates health and businesses that enable community health start to crop up as the people with more buying power, exercise their economic power, and become a market people start building to serve. Poverty Stoplight is key to this level of the game; documenting demand and what people are willing to work on to change, awt the household level. That creates incredible insight into demand of people who have more money to spend.

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