Practices for Inclusive Cities

All-in cities are created through a set of equity-focused practices that cut across policy arenas.

  1. Integrate a focus on people, place, and the economy. Equitable growth strategies connect underserved residents to the regional and global economy. To make those linkages, city leaders must simultaneously invest in preparing people for the jobs of the future, making neighborhoods platforms for economic mobility, and fostering greater economic opportunity for all.
  2. Embrace equity as an economic imperative. Private sector businesses employ most city residents and are crucial partners for advancing equitable growth. All-in city leaders help business leaders see the long-term, bottom-line benefits of racial and economic equity and engage them in developing and implementing solutions.
  3. Focus on the most vulnerable. By developing strategies and policies to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, all-in cities create solutions that have cascading benefits. We call this the “curb-cut effect,” inspired by the ramp-like dips on sidewalk corners that disability rights activists fought for in the 1970s. When the wall of exclusion came down, everybody benefited — not only people in wheelchairs: parents with strollers, workers pushing heavy carts, travelers rolling suitcases, etc.
  4. Embed anti-racism throughout government. Racial inequities in cities are not inevitable: they are created and perpetuated by the actions, investments, policies, and decisions of society’s most powerful institutions, including local governments. All-in cities transform themselves from within, analyzing all of their decisions and practices with a racial equity lens (asking: Who benefits? Who pays? Who decides?), and using their power and influence to remove barriers and expand opportunities.
  5. Strengthen the public realm: public action, public space, and public institutions. All-in cities require active governments that find ways to invest in the public institutions — school districts, health departments, and public space – that are such critical resources for low-income communities of color who have little access to privately-provided goods and services.
  6. Ensure meaningful community participation, leadership, and ownership. Residents of disinvested neighborhoods possess valuable information, insight, and wisdom that city governments need to design and implement solutions that work. Community ownership and control of land and assets is critical for equitable development without displacement as neighborhoods attract new investment.
  7. Take on the challenge of achieving equity results at scale. All-in cities use a data-driven approach to understand current conditions and inform and continuously hone strategies to set targets and achieve results for specific excluded populations while improving outcomes for entire populations.