Viewer's Guide: Building the Democratic Economy


Our story and the Preston Model was inspired, in part, by the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio (also known as the Cleveland Model). It was kickstarted in Cleveland, with the help of The Democracy Collaborative, the Cleveland Foundation, the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, and the City of Cleveland. For more on the Cleveland Model, watch the Democracy Collaborative explainer here:

The Preston Model is one of “community wealth building.” As we detail in our report, worker co-ops are an integral element of this model. What is a worker co-op? According to the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, they are “values-driven businesses that put worker and community benefit at the core of their purpose.” Or as puts it, worker co-ops are democratically owned, controlled, and benefitted. The Atlantic described the ins and outs of co-ops in a piece from a few years back:

For more on the history of The Preston Model, including some of the critiques that have arise, check out OpenDemocracy’s piece The ‘Preston Model’ and the Modern Politics of Municipal Socialism.

Our special report, “Building the Democratic Economy, from Preston to Cleveland ,” was co-produced with The Democracy Collaborative. The Democracy Collaborative began in 2000 at the University of Maryland “as a research center dedicated to the pursuit of democratic renewal, increased civic participation, and community revitalization,” under the helm of Ted Howard and Gar Alperovitz.

To hear more from Matthew Brown, the Preston City Council leader, check out his interview on The Guardian with Aditya Chakrabortty:


To learn more about our interviewees and their organizations, read up here:

The Democracy Collaborative

Dr. Ornette D. Clennon


The Labour Party

Centre for Local Economic Strategies

Preston City Council

Aditya Chakrabortty at The Guardian

The Larder

Gateway Housing Association


More reading:













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