An Option For The Poor 
A Research Audit For Community Based Regionalism In California’s Central Coast

Community-based organizations are increasingly interested in tackling issues of regional economic development to address the inequality and resource shortfalls that plague their constituents. Some groups have conducted regional audits to understand the economic and political terrain and select entry points that will maximize their impact. This article reports on a collaborative effort between university and commu- nity partners in California’ s central coast that involved the development of a research- based audit, and explains how the complex interplay of economic clusters, environ- mentalist traditions, and demographic changes led to an initial emphasis on housing. The authors note how the conscious power-building aspects of this approach can help with economic and community development and draw lessons for community-based regionalist efforts in other parts of the country.