Building an inclusive city for all citizens

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Building an inclusive city for all citizens

Winning the battle for economic prosperity is what most communities are in search of. Most in the field of urban regeneration would agree that an inclusive city can support this endeavor. This is especially true for fiscally stressed communities with limited resources.

The larger question facing fiscally stressed cities is what strategies can be pursued given the tug of war of local politics, limited resources and confronting conformity. Why conformity you ask?

Simply put, conformity means to go along to get along, do what we have always done, don’t rock the boat, don’t take any risks and be fearful of standing out on your own beliefs and breaking out of the crown for fear of retaliation.

With this backdrop present in many communities, it’s had to create viable solutions. However, I will be the first to admit that some communities are that recognizing this fact. Many are exploring creative strategies while others tend to stay with traditional approaches.

While there is no one shoe fits all approach to regenerating cities, there is a policy framework cities can pursue that captures the value of all its citizens in contributing to their quest for economic prosperity.

The framework I am referring to is one that builds a competitive inclusive city.

An inclusive city is one that values all citizens and their needs and contributions in its quest to be socially and economically competitive with other cities. It is one in which all citizens regardless of income and class have an active voice, role and participation in governance, policy and economic development strategies. And is doing so, have access to sustainable livelihoods which further strengthen’s the city’s social and economic sustainability.

In the final analysis, the end game is to have a local policy framework which communicates to citizens that you are valued, you have a place in this community and reaching your individual social and economic potential is key to the long term economic success of the community.

What do we have to loose in trying?

Dr. Eric Anthony Johnson

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