Planning in Context 3. Toward the Just City References Index. Fainstein's slightly deadpan style serves only to make her accounts more compelling. A recent history of planning in London, written with equality, democracy and diversity in mind, is really useful as a teaching tool. Here the Docklands development, Coin Street and the Olympics are placed under scrutiny She notes that there are two possible responses to the injustices illustrated by the book.
The first is to recognize the impossibility of achieving even small amounts of justice within the dominant system of global capitalism. The second, which is one that Fainstein herself adheres to, is that much can be achieved through incremental change. The book's final chapter is therefore devoted to a discussion of policies that are conducive to social justice in cities.
Her vision is of a world where market forces no longer dominate decisions about city planning and justice drives the world of policy. This is in contrast with the city as growth machine. Fainstein examines three cities: New York, London, and Amsterdam. She provides a history of post—World War II planning and then focuses on fairly recent cases of development in each. Her goals, though modest, are important if growing inequality in urban areas is to be reversed.
These are critical tasks, but insufficient goals. The initiative aims to fundamentally change the economy in ways that expand participation, opportunity, and power for communities of color, and to accelerate economic growth in cities, regions and the nation.
To accomplish this, we must disrupt the structures, systems and policies that have perpetuated racial inequities and uneven growth in cities. In practice, this means that cities must embed a commitment to racial equity throughout their operations and decision making. For example, Minneapolis is building equity into the DNA of its administrative offices, creating an Office of Equitable Outcomes that will assess how local government incorporates equity into its hiring, internal operations, and the regional partnerships it makes with businesses, non-profits, and philanthropic organizations.
In Portland, the Inclusive Startup Fund, which provides capital, mentoring, and business advising to startups founded by underrepresented groups, is dismantling barriers to employment and business ownership.
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These are just a few examples of cities modeling equity-driven development. Transforming low-wage jobs into good jobs with dignity, linking unemployed residents to jobs building vital infrastructure in their neighborhoods, ending police brutality, and ensuring poor children of color can access great public schools and the support they need to thrive from cradle to college to career—these are all integral aspects of a new kind of metropolitan development that builds equity into the business models, institutions, and policies that shape urban design, planning, investment, and growth.
PolicyLink is fully cognizant of the challenges facing such sweeping action. But reimagining cities without a front-and-center commitment to equity, including racial equity, is a recipe for failure. Unless equity is deeply held as a value and elevated as the primary driver of policy, it does not happen. Rising income inequality and persistent racial inequity threaten to undermine the opportunities afforded by the urban renaissance and the diversity that draws and excites newcomers in the first place.
These trends also jeopardize regional and national economic growth, as leading economists now recognize. Growing diversity and urbanization are changing the nation and the world. People of all colors, nationalities, faiths, and incomes will share space, bump against one another, and rise or fall together. This heightens the need for all to join, as equal partners, in building equitable cities. The equity imperative illuminates the path to a stronger city — a thriving, resilient, just metropolis that works for all. In the United States of America cities have long been gateways to opportunity.
For centuries, people from all over the country and the world, including my own grandparents, came to our cities chasing the promise of a better life. Meanwhile, American cities are undergoing a major demographic shift. By , America will be a majority-minority nation. And, events in Ferguson and Baltimore have underscored the destructive nature of existing disparities of income, education and opportunity between whites and non-whites. Addressing these disparities is one of the key social issues of our time.
But our current trajectory is too slow, obsessed with short-term wins and incrementalism, where leaders are constantly reinventing the wheel instead of building on the work of those who came before them. We celebrate improvements in one school on one block while tiptoeing around the fact that it is the entire system that needs fixing. We tell heartwarming stories about kids served or young adults placed in good jobs while averting our eyes from the millions more who remain disconnected from opportunity.
The Just City Essays
We talk about how far we have come since the civil rights movement, but are uncomfortable with discussing how far we still must go to achieve true racial equity. Unless we ferociously change course, the new American majority will be less educated, less prosperous and less free.
To build truly just cities, we need a new type of urban practice aimed at achieving dramatically better results for low-income people, faster. This new urban practice will require cities to get key public, private and philanthropic leaders to work together differently, to better harness impact investing dollars, and to leverage technology to engage all residents in solutions. In this new urban practice, local leaders will need to come together to build a new, more resilient and sustainable civic infrastructure that is focused on getting results.
In many places, like Cleveland and other older industrial cities, the old civic infrastructure disappeared when Fortune companies moved away. Today, public, private, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders are distributing the leadership needed for change so their efforts can survive inevitable turnover and drive large-scale results.
There is no better example of this dynamic than Detroit.
With the government in disarray, local philanthropic organizations and business leaders have shared the leadership for more than a decade, making investments that now position the city to take advantage of its fresh start. However, one of the most exciting emerging movements around the U. Its Discover BPS product is a Boston public school search engine that helps low income parents understand where their children are eligible to go to school.
There is an emerging, global movement around impact investing.
From what we know so far, impact investors look much like the charitable giver—they want their dollars to make a difference. To date, a majority of impact investing dollars have gone to the developing world. Now, as more and more people look to cities as units of change, we need to give investors reason to believe there are investable opportunities in U. And leaders must come together and create mechanisms for those dollars to land in cities and communities that need them the most.
Luckily, an exciting amount of place-based investment opportunities and approaches have emerged over the past few years, including pay for success, crowd-funding, peer-to-peer lending and locally funded venture capital. The effort focuses on reducing recidivism and increasing employment for more than 1, at-risk, formerly incarcerated young men in the three Massachusettes cities: Boston, Chelsea and Springfield.
As private investors, we assume the risk by financing the services up front, getting repaid only if agreed-upon measurable social impacts are achieved. In exchange for taking the risk, the investors receive a financial return. This means that precious government resources are spent only in the event of proven success and government savings. Institutions like Living Cities and others committed to building this field must figure out how to promote, aggregate and form these options into market so people can more easily invest in the local context. We need to accelerate their growth everywhere.
America has long had a unique brand of civic participation—a combination of individual commitment and group action. Unfortunately, trends over the past few decades show that both are in decline. The midterm election had an individual voter turnout of 36 percent—the lowest in any election cycle since World War II. Encouragingly, the work we are actively engaged in at Living Cities is providing us with evidence of a nation that is actively confronting these trends.
Now, we have the opportunity to once again be a model for the rest of the world. We must use all the power of modern technologies to engage people and communities who have been historically left out of the processes. The city harnessed digital technologies to open budgeting decisions to community members. In addition, more people of color turned out to vote, and Hispanics, in particular, voted at twice the usual rate.
More needs to be done to ensure that those who participate, like Maggie Tobin, have faith that the process will result in meaningful change. Ultimately just cities are built when leaders are committed to justice as a fundamental, long-term priority. I have made that commitment as the leader of Living Cities. I am also committed to supporting public and private leaders to do the same nationwide.
The Just City (Thessaly, #1) by Jo Walton
These three elements—a new civic infrastructure, impact investing and civic engagement—will drive that change. But ultimately, leaders must have the motivation to build resilient structures, practices and solutions to sustain it. Only then will we have built a just city. Since then, the organization has adopted an integrative agenda that harnesses the knowledge of its 22 member institutions to benefit low-income people and the cities where they live. Prior to joining Living Cities, Hecht co-founded One Economy Corporation, an organization that leverages the power of technology and information to connect low-income people to the economic mainstream.
Before One Economy, Mr. All of my basic needs were met on the south side of Chicago—schooling, shopping, summer jobs, recreation and entertainment. My teachers were predominately black, and my classmates were 98 percent black. This environment did not make me feel isolated, segregated or unusual—I just felt normal. For the first time in my life, I actually felt like a minority. And today, professionally, I remain a minority in my chosen field.
Nor was I aware of the profound impact that Chicago would have on my interactions with fellow urbanites and the work to which I would come to devote my career.
The Just City
My work in architecture, urban design and urban planning spans several cities in the U. All of these cities have similar racial patterns of segregation, and all have similar urban conditions, thanks to the impact of segregation on people and place. I would eventually come to know these urban conditions as the environments of social and spatial injustice. I now simply call them the conditions of urban injustice or justice. I define urban justice as the factors that contribute to our economic, human health, civic and cultural well-being, as well as the factors that contribute to the environmental and aesthetic health of the built environment.
There are three conditions of urban injustice that I always seem to confront in my work in cities—conditions that began to reach the height of national awareness at the time of my birth in s Chicago. Over multiple generations, this isolation has had a devastating impact on family structures, social networks, educational systems and access to economic opportunity.
For example, in Newark, N. In the mids, attempts were made to revitalize the center city through programs such as Model Cities, a federal program that brought funding for redevelopment into communities with the greatest social and physical deterioration. At the height of disinvestment and the federal programs designed to reverse this trend, including Model Cities and Urban Renewal, developers and institutions that felt unable to control the disinvested and crime-ridden environments around their land holdings directed architects to protect them from the adjacent urban decay via windowless recreation centers to keep children safe, elevated and enclosed skywalks from Newark Penn Station to the Gateway Center office campus that removed people from the dangerous streets, and a public community college constructed with uninviting, barrier-like building materials that created a fortress, protecting knowledge from the very public it was situated to serve.
From to , while serving as deputy planning director under Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams, I saw that spatial segregation sharply divided the city along the north-south axis marked by Rock Creek Park and the Potomac River, separating rich and poor residents by employment status, income and educational attainment.
Fifteen years later, residents of color see that this dividing line is pushing swiftly eastward; they fear they will be pushed across the Anacostia River and, ultimately, outside the city limits. At the center of these environments of urban injustice, I find an increasing number of women, children, immigrants and people of color struggling to stake their claim in the just city.
National trends report that women are poorer than men in all racial and ethnic categories. Some 75 percent of all women in poverty are single, with over a quarter of these women being single mothers, according to the Center for American Progress. Nearly a third of all children in this country live in poverty, giving the U. Since the start of the recession, more millennials and a widening spectrum of working folks previously perceived as middle-class are finding it harder to maintain the things we have always associated with a middle-class lifestyle: Many people in this cohort do not have confidence in their right to ownership, inclusion and belonging to the public spaces of the city because of the frequent reminders expressed by those who presume to judge and challenge those rights.
But I am optimistic about cities—American cities, in particular—and our collective ability to facilitate and create greater urban justice for all. I am optimistic and, once again, inspired by television and pop culture. It reveals how middle-class African-American parents can afford to expose their children to a world that in many cases is broader, with greater global access to opportunity and diversity than our own upbringing, and without the baggage of racial limitations.
However, at the same time, the parents—and especially the father—hold tightly to the racial lenses through which they grew up viewing the world, as well as the cultural self-identities we of this generation still desperately want acknowledged and integrated into the American cultural normative.
I am also optimistic because of my work as the founding director of the J. The Center is named after famed African-American architect, J. Max Bond, who was the cousin of civil rights activist Julian Bond, who recently passed away. Max Bond viewed architecture as a social art, one with a responsibility to design the built environment in a manner that expresses the cultural traditions, needs and aspirations of our society. Inspired by his position and my own belief that design can have an impact on urban justice, both the Center and a graduate seminar course I developed of the same name aim to examine the unresolved issues of race, equity, inclusion, ownership and participation in urban communities; to create a clear definition of the just city; and to develop a set of evaluation metrics that assess the effectiveness of design tactics in facilitating urban justice.
I have taught the class over four semesters with 45 students in total five African-Americans, 10 foreign-born students, four openly LGBTQ students, 19 women and 26 men. In the end, I want more than a livable city, more than a sustainable city, more than a resilient city. Within my work as a practitioner, educator and researcher, I believe I have tried to create places and spaces that promote greater urban justice.
I believe my intention was to create a more just city, even though I would not have used this term to describe my intentions. As a reflect on the impacts of these and other design and planning efforts with which I have been involved, I feel the pressing need to become more articulate about the specific impacts of my design work on facilitating my vision for the just city.
To do this, I realized that I must first create a clear definition of what it means to have this just city. So, as I look to assess the impact of my past projects, and to work with greater clarity to continue my quest for equitable and inclusive access for all, I offer these ten values as my initial metrics for designing for the just city. Equity — The distribution of material and non-material goods in a manner that brings the greatest benefit required to any particular community.
Choice — The ability for any and all communities to make selections among a variety of options including places, programs, amenities and decisions. Connectivity — A social or spatial network tying people and places together, providing access and opportunity for all. Ownership — The ability to have a stake in a process, outcome or material good, such as property. Diversity — Acceptance of different programs, people and cultural norms in the built environment and decision-making processes.
Participation — The requirement and acceptance of different voices and the active engagement of both Individuals and communities in matters affecting social and spatial well-being. Inclusion and Belonging — The acceptance of difference, the intention to involve diverse opinions, attitudes and behaviors, and the ability of spaces to engender integration, fellowship and safety.
Creative innovation — Nurturing ingenuity in problem solving and interventions that improve place. By offering these values, I know I run the risk of communicating a top-down proclamation, implying a city is not just unless it succeeds at these specific values.