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Access-to-Enterprise Zones

Access-to-Enterprise Zones (AEZs), also called Enterprise Zones, Enterprise Communities, or Empowerment Zones, are economically depressed geographic areas where federal, state, and/or local governments promote job creation and income growth by providing financial incentives to businesses. They are expected to impact poverty by reducing unemployment and raising income in the area.

Modern AEZs in the Western industrial world started in the early 1980s in the United Kingdom as an alternative urban development strategy focused on the use of vacant or damaged land. They are the brainchild of Peter Hall, an urban planning professor at the University College of London and chair of the British socialist Fabian Society in 1971–72. At the National Urban Policy Roundtable conference on January 15, 1981, Stuart Butler, a senior economist at the ...

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