The Community & Capital Action Research Lab (C2ARL) is committed to improving knowledge about urban neighborhoods dynamics, local economies and community change. We support progressive approaches to local economic development, community planning and decision-making.

Yellow Storefront

C2ARL engages in cutting-edge research, critical discourse and empirically informed knowledge development on issues broadly related to myriad processes and mechanisms associated with urban neighborhood change and community infrastructure. More specifically, much of our work focuses on “neighborhood retail” dynamics, alternative local economic development models and civic capacity.

C2ARL explores the often precarious middle-ground between community-building and business development, growth and survival, which are reconstituted over time and across localities. Thus, our work cannot be simply characterized as either community development or economic development. Instead, our work occupies the nexus of these fields.

C2ARL investigates local and extra-local mechanism underlying both change and continuity in urban neighborhood retail landscapes. Consequently, much of our work focuses on commercial corridors and business-owners as critical focal points for better understanding the structural and cultural context for community planning and place-based policy.

C2ARL's comparative advantage is our explicit attention to social history of ‘small-areas’. Using ‘long-and-local’ frameworks, we analyze the impact of public policies, planning decisions, and community action. When appropriate, we propose alternative strategies that have promise for improving social equity outcomes.

C2ARL collaborates with researchers, civic organizations, and municipal agencies interested in interested in the potential of alternative economic development models and committed to equity-driven problem solving.