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Building Inclusive Cities

“These two papers reflect a six-month long collaboration with three metro areas to address one key challenge we heard consistently from many of you: that in order to take action on inclusive growth, there needed to be a compelling case for why business and economic leaders should take an active role. To date, addressing inclusion has fallen on the shoulders of social equity advocates. Yet inclusive ‘growth’ requires the additional leadership, partnership, and action of economic development leaders and other market actors. Closing this loop between inclusion and growth is essential to achieving collective action on shared prosperity in a rapidly-changing economy. And while building a ‘business case’ for economic inclusion does not replace the need for action, changing hearts and minds is a necessary precursor to broader, more sustained behavior change.

“The two new papers, drawn from literature and the experience of three metro areas, are:

  • Opportunity for growth: How reducing barriers to economic inclusion can benefit workers, firms, and local economies. This paper by Joseph Parilla makes the case for how inclusion and growth are interdependent and offers metro leaders a three-part framework for how to address economic exclusion and create broad-based prosperity.
  • Committing to inclusive growth: Lessons for metro areas from the Inclusive Economic Development Lab. This paper by┬áRyan Donahue, Brad McDearman, and Rachel Barker examines how regional economic development organizations can continue to evolve their missions to catalyze inclusive growth, drawing on lessons, insights, and stories from our engagement with Indianapolis, Nashville, and San Diego.

“The mission of achieving inclusive growth is urgent. While the national discourse has exposed the deep economic, social, and cultural faultlines in our country, cities and metro areas are stepping up to develop solutions. We hope that these two papers help you strengthen your resolve to do more, to bridge the gap between growth and equity, and to show that cities and metros can rise above the division and make real progress for our residents, no matter their race, religion, or background.”

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