Place has a critical influence on the equity and prosperity of communities. Place is where the physical environment meets the social, emotional and spiritual aspects unique to human life.
PolicyLink defines equity as “just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper and reach their full potential.” Inequity in our civic commons means that in some communities not all benefit from the opportunities to experience nature, to connect in welcoming and inclusive public spaces, to participate in programming, and to generally enjoy the benefits of well designed, managed and programmed public spaces.
The new report Place Drive Equity is “an evidence-based action guide on the role of public space for shared prosperity,” synthsized from the discussions among a multi-city working group of practitioners and thought leaders convened virtually for a series of eight meetings by Reimagining the Civic Commons. I was honored to be among this group, and recognized as co-author of the report, alongside George Abbott (Memphis River Parks Partnership), Alexa Bush (City of Detroit), Kyle Kutuchief (Knight Foundation), and Donald Taylor-Patterson and Bridget Marquis (RCC/U3 Advisors).
The inequity in place is a result of segregation, concentrated poverty, and a legacy of inequitable policies and procedures. During the pandemic we have witnessed the importance of public space for the health and wellbeing of all community members. Communities of color continue to suffer from a lack of public space or from poorly managed, programmed and maintained space.
It is urgent that we make the changes to policies and procedures to rectify this ongoing challenge and provide all citizens the benefit of great public space. The Place Driving Equity primer is not only a call to action, but a guide for practitioners to strategize, design, and implement public spaces to help achieve equity in their communities.
Learn more and download the Place Driving Equity report here.
Featured image courtesy of Reimagining the Civic Commons (screenshot)