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GCPH Seminar Series 19: Lecture 2 - Sarah McKinley

14 Dec 2022, 3.00pm - 4.30pm via Zoom

United Kingdom


Community wealth building as health building: how a local democratic economy can create healthy, thriving communities

Sarah presented community wealth building as a means to democratise local economies so that they produce wellbeing and positive health outcomes for people in their daily lives. Community wealth building action is already happening in communities across the world. But in this moment of compounding crises, it is more urgent than ever to intentionally connect, scale, and resource these actions to move them from the fringes to the mainstream of economic development practice. 

As people and communities struggle under the rising cost of living – the result of an extractive economic system that is destroying our environment while creating scarcity and precarity – Sarah argued that we cannot simply tinker around the edges to offer relief. Instead, we must structurally reset our local economies to build more resilient and equitable communities by design. Community wealth building does this by centering democratic ownership and control of local assets in place, setting self-and-collective determination into our local economies so that they better meet the needs of people and place while producing greater wellbeing by their natural functioning. Using concrete examples to showcase the art of the possible, Sarah made the case for overhauling economic development practice and show that it can be done now.

Sarah McKinlay

About the speaker

Sarah McKinley

Director of Community Wealth Building Programs & Next System Project European Representative, The Democracy Collaborative, USA

Sarah McKinley is the Director of Community Wealth Building Programs for The Democracy Collaborative and the European Representative for the Next System Project. She works to advance the planning and application of community wealth building in place and to build learning exchanges around the democratic economy in the US, the UK, and Europe. 

Previously, she managed the Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building, and supported the publication of An Indigenous Approach to Community Wealth Building: A Lakota Translation. She is co-author of Democratic by Design: A new Community Wealth Building vision for the British economy after COVID-19, Owning the Future: After COVID-19 a new era of Community Wealth Building, Cities Building Community Wealth, The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs, and Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment.          

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