Growth and Equity: How Driving Economic Growth Impacts Equity and Inclusion

Forty people attended an insightful, thought-provoking panel discussion about growth and equity: how driving economic growth impacts equity and inclusion. The panel was moderated by Andrew Moore from the Institute for Youth Education and Families, National League of Cities and featured Alan Berube, Brookings Institute; Lee Nunery II, The ITEM and Ashley Putnam, Federal Reserve of Philadelphia.

Key takeaways

  • The economic return of living in a city is increasing, creating greater latitude for city leaders to invest in progressive, proactive ways to increase equity and inclusion. But this requires a real commitment. Leaders must show action, not just speak words.
  • Inclusion, equity and diversity are at the core of almost all of the challenges that many cities face – job growth, talent attraction, education, housing, transportation – and therefore should be a part of every conversation about solutions for those challenges. Collaboration with the community to address city challenges is key. Community members need to be involved if you are going to effectively solve these challenges.
  • Talent is equally distributed — opportunity is not. We need to be intentional about ensuring access to opportunity for all citizens. We need to look at hiring practices/requirements – are they actually necessary? And we need to help residents effectively “skill up” and access training opportunities for new jobs.
  • We need to understand that not all citizens interpret growth as good. What jobs are being created? Who will be hired for those jobs? How will this growth impact our city’s culture and neighborhoods? We need to look at growth through a personal lens and make sure we manage it so that it positively impacts all of our citizens and leads to opportunity for the many, not just the few.
  • We need to own some hard-to-face facts about gentrification. Populations of people have intentionally been divested in cities for years.