In March, the Center for American Progress convened a panel of experts to explore the problems and promise of America’s urban centers.
The event—“Expanding Opportunity in America’s Urban Areas”—co-sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, brought together public, private, and nonprofit leaders that included former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; AFSCME President Lee Saunders; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro; and Aja Brown, mayor of Compton, California (D).
Moderated by CAP President Neera Tanden, the lively roundtable discussion produced a number of key takeaways, most notably the need for leaders across sectors to work together and commit resources to revitalize urban areas as a way to improve social mobility and support national prosperity.
Here’s a brief overview of their findings. In order to revitalize and strengthen cities, policymakers must focus on four key issues for urban areas:
- Repair and update infrastructure.
- Improve quality of place.
- Foster human capital.
- Address inequality combined with wage stagnation.
- Developing successful strategies
In addition to identifying the issues that communities should focus on, it is also important to consider how strategies must be implemented in order to maximize their effectiveness. The following strategies were identified during the roundtable as being critical to addressing the challenges facing urban areas:
- Recognize that issues facing cities are interconnected.
- Employ both bottom-up and top-down approaches.
- Use evidence-based approaches.
- Encourage public-private collaboration.
- Utilize the pillars of collective impact.
- Embrace inclusivity.