For a Strong Economy, Focus on Inclusive Growth

In our increasingly unequal cities, inclusion is good for growth, and growth is good for inclusion. Two new reports show how it can be done.

Amid deepening inequality in America’s cities, there have been increasingly urgent calls for economic growth to be more inclusive. There’s also growing recognition that with President Donald Trump in office and Republicans in charge of Congress and many states, this is an area where cities and local governments will have to lead.

I recently wrote about how anchor institutions like universities, medical centers, big tech companies, and real estate developers must become partners in inclusive prosperity. Now, two new studies by the Brookings Institution’s Metro Policy Program take a deep dive into the widespread economic and social benefits of inclusive growth, and how economic development organizations, or EDOs, can pivot their focus to reflect these new goals.

It’s not just economic inequality we face, but the even more vexing problem of spatial inequality. Over the past couple of decades, urban growth has become increasingly unequal—a phenomenon I call “winner-take-all urbanism.” On the one hand, the divides between different cities have grown; on the other, inequality has grown the most severe in the most successful and knowledge-based cities and metro areas.

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