Equity-focused Cities

How a city addresses equity and inclusion issues is foundational to how it treats people. This collection of solutions and blocks provides a quick summary of resources on this topic.

Enforcing change from the bottom-up

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No this is not just an oxymoron. This philosophy understands that human-centered design comes from focussing on the needs of the greater population (bottom-up change), but also understands that sometimes in order to make these needs a reality, top-down action must be implemented. For example, the Corporation of Chenai recognized that their old street designs did not reflect the needs of the common man or woman. In order to reorient the status quo, the government needed to take bold measures and pass laws that shifted the focus to the main, yet underrepresented populations of the city.

Equality charter

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Inequality, lack of social mobility and exclusion from the economic, social, cultural and political spheres are among the key challenges facing Bristol’s communities. A range of people and representatives from Black and Minority Ethnic communities and groups came together to develop a Bristol Manifesto to Race equality that was launched in 2015. This manifesto sets out a clear declaration of values, vision, and intentions for the city’s communities, a call for action, and a timeline. The Manifesto highlights key areas where racial inequalities persist and where the gaps are widening. The City Council now plans to build on this work by developing an Equality Charter which will apply to the Council and any organisation that the council commissions, grants aid to or procures services from, to include governance, administration and delivery. The council is also committed to addressing the underlying issues facing Bristol in attracting BME candidates for senior positions within the Council.

Equitable TOD Social Impact Calculator (Cook County/Chicago, Illinois, USA)


"When homes, offices, retail, and other amenities are located within the transit shed – generally a quarter mile to a half mile from a high-frequency transit stop – people can spend less time and money getting to all the places in their daily lives. Equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD) takes this a step further by making sure that the benefits of living near transit are available to people of all income levels." Text from: www.cnt.org/tools/etod-social-impact-calculator

Housing and Transportation Affordability Index

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"The traditional measure of affordability recommends that housing cost no more than 30% of household income. Under this view, a little over half (55%) of U.S. neighborhoods are considered “affordable” for the typical household. However, that benchmark fails to take into account transportation costs, which are typically a household’s second-largest expenditure. When transportation costs are factored into the equation, the number of affordable neighborhoods drops to 26%, resulting in a net loss of 59,768 neighborhoods that Americans can truly afford. The H+T Index offers an expanded view of affordability, one that combines housing and transportation costs and sets the benchmark at no more than 45% of household income." Text from: www.cnt.org/tools/housing-and-transportation-affordability-index

Improved fairness for greater equality and social cohesion

This solution addresses equality and social cohesion gaps in Bristol, UK for local community

Increase spatial social equality in CDMX through programs and projects

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It is necessary to preserve, expand, and recover green areas within the city and promote investment in programs such as Green Roofs (Azoteas Verdes), the Urban Image Improvement Program (Programa de Mejora de Imagen Urbana), the Gullies Management Program (Programa de Manejo de Barrancas), and the Environmentally Valuable Areas Management Program (Programa de Manejo de las Áreas de Valor Ambiental). These efforts may be supplemented with environmental education initiatives (such as those of the Center for Environmental Education) that can reinforce the importance of green infrastructure for the city. This action would help to reduce the deficit of green areas that exists in certain parts of the city. Realization of this goal would increase equality and social cohesion and provide ecosystem services that would improve the quality of life of city inhabitants.

Location Affordability Index


"In 2013, HUD and DOT announced the launch of the Location Affordability Index, a web-based tool that estimates the cost of housing and transportation based on location." Text from: http://www.cnt.org/tools/location-affordability-index

Multi-modal transportation to connect people, employment, and services

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The city will hire a Transportation Coordinator to redesign our regional transit system to connect people, employment, and services. We'll encourage use of mass transit use by providing public employees with a pre-tax transit pass. At the same time, we'll work with the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to develop a vision for a multimodal regional transit network that integrates bicycle and pedestrian networks.

Reevaluating Transportation Priorities

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At the start of the Street Design Project, the City of Chenai took bold measures to reevaluate who uses the streets and how these usage figures should manifest themselves in street design features. This reevaluation suggested a dramatic change was needed. Instead of placing cars at the top of the pecking order, walking and non motorized vehicles were placed first. The redesign of the streets carries out this shift in the form of new safety measures, travel zones, and street distribution.