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Cityscape: Volume 24 Number 1 | An Evaluation of the Impact and Potential of Opportunity Zones


An Evaluation of the Impact and Potential of Opportunity Zones

Volume 24 Number 1

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Collaboration to Support Further Redevelopment and Revitalization in Communities with Opportunity Zones

Michelle Madeley
Alexis Rourk Reyes
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Community Revitalization

Rachel Bernstein
College of William & Mary

Opportunity Zones (OZs) were created to drive economic development and job creation in low-income, disinvested neighborhoods that need private investment to support new and improved spaces, services, and economic opportunities for their residents. Part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Office of Policy, the Office of Community Revitalization (OCR) supports community-driven efforts to improve economic, environmental, community, and human health outcomes by convening community, local, state, federal, and private-sector actors that can help communities strategically plan for the use of public and private capital and implement their plans for economic growth and environmental protection. To support the more than 34.8 million people living in communities with Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs), OCR piloted an enhanced, focused technical assistance offering, strengthened interagency collaboration, and expanded geospatial planning and analysis capabilities to support economically distressed communities in their revitalization efforts. OCR also played a role in facilitating internal coordination across EPA and developed a community of practice with community development, sustainability, and brownfield revitalization staff in EPA’s 10 regions. The premise of this initiative was that without meaningful community engagement, traditional investment could result in unintended adverse consequences, such as displacement of people, businesses, and cultures. Equitable investment engages the community to define project benefits and seeks to create thriving, sustainable neighborhoods of opportunity for all.

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