CEEDS partnerships are sometimes initiated in the community, sometimes in the university. While acknowledging a host of shortcomings over the years, our partnerships attempt to achieve five goals regardless of how they begin.

First, we seek to establish mutually beneficial and transformative partnerships.  Believing that partnerships require a relationship among equals, we go to great lengths to identify and involve all the players, creating structures for developing shared goals and providing tools that help everyone participate in envisioning spatial transformation.  Within this context, we build a track record of easy-wins before attempting more significant outcomes.

Second, we seek to establish justice-oriented and culturally inclusive partnerships.  We believe that partnerships between academics and community members necessarily center around social justice—that they resist power imbalances, take a stand against structural inequities, promote distributive justice, and embrace cultural difference.

Third, we seek to promote collaboration across disciplines.  Believing that complex, racialized problems in disenfranchised communities require new trans-disciplinary approaches, we develop strategies that help us question our normative knowledge and practices, and see what is invisible within our respective disciplines.

Fourth, we seek to develop appropriate strategies and outcomes, recognizing that different strategies lead to interventions at different scales.  Practice-oriented partnerships are at the smallest scale because they involve hands-on transformation; participatory action research partnerships occur at a larger scale because hands-on transformation is extended through research; research-oriented partnerships are at the largest scale, involving recommendations for policy and programmatic transformation.  All three strategies have equal potential for triumph—or disappointment.

Lastly, we seek an outsider evaluation of our performance and the degree to which partnerships meet the foregoing four goals, and we especially value the critical framing of our work by doctoral students.