Building Pathways to More Equitable American Cities

When I close my eyes and think of home back in Chicago, I still envision a city of shining glass and steel skyscrapers soaring upward, boasting of wealth and power. I can also close my eyes and recall the long-neglected neighborhoods stuck in the shadows of the city’s great skyline. This is the two-faced reality of American cities that represents extreme inequality between color-coded haves and have-nots.

At Prosperity Now, we charge municipal leaders and advocates to come together and push for policy solutions, partnerships and strategies that enable financial well-being for all.

With this mission, Prosperity Now’s State & Local Policy Team releases A Municipal Policy Blueprint for a More Inclusive Path to Prosperity, the latest in our series of guides for designing, advocating and implementing policies that build financial security within communities of color. Following up on last year’s State Policy Blueprint and the Racial Equity Primer, this new blueprint turns its attention toward promoting racial wealth equity in America’s cities while continuing to lay out meaningful, manageable and moveable policies for advocates and policymakers alike.

The Municipal Blueprint takes Prosperity Now’s policy work down to the local level, using our most current data from the Prosperity Now Scorecard to better understand the specific challenges of long-neglected neighborhoods and communities. These challenges are then connected through the unique roles of municipal leaders and policy recommendations to improve the well-being of communities of color.

The policies presented fall within four overarching themes—boosting income, protecting consumers, increasing asset ownership and enabling homeownership. Recognizing that one-size-fits-all models simply aren’t suited for municipal policymaking, the Municipal Blueprint goes beyond merely recommending policies. We also include approaches and strategies that compliment both city-level advocacy and the tools and concepts described for racial wealth equity advocacy in the Primer.

While the policies described in the Municipal Blueprint are ready for implementation, we are also mindful that they must be tailored to the unique context of each city that might wish to implement them. The State & Local Policy Team presents these policies not just as ideas to consider, but as the starting point for conversations to help advocates and policymakers craft the most effective solutions to achieve racial wealth equity.

As you read this document, I encourage you to reach out to us to begin these conversations and start laying the foundations for a clear path to financial security, wealth and prosperity for all. For more information on our local-level policy work, questions or comments about the Municipal Blueprint, please contact Holden Weisman, Senior Policy Manager, at hweisman@prosperitynow.org.

Read the Municipal Blueprint here

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