A weekly round-up of articles and information we don’t think you should miss!

This week, we’re excited to share articles and other information submitted by Living Cities staff. The tragic mass shootings in Colorado Springs and San Bernardino spurred several conversations around the water cooler here at Living Cities. With federal inaction to address gun violence all but a near certainty for the foreseeable future, the question of what local jurisdictions can do to stop the killing is something that cities across the nation are grappling with.

An example is the Innovation Team (i-team) in New Orleans, which is piloting a comprehensive violence prevention strategy across the city. You can read more about the work of the New Orleans i-team here.

Staff from Living Cities shared articles on this topic and others, including the relationship between innovation and inequality and the use of community wealth building strategies to encourage economic development.

On Guns, We’re Not Even Trying - New York Times

I was so saddened to hear about the violence in Colorado Springs and San Bernardino this last week. But more depressing to me is the ongoing, un-checked gun violence in this country (America now averages one mass shooting a day) and our politicians' lack of interest in solving the problem. Nicholas Kristof writes in this column about common sense solutions to gun violence and why our government refuses to enact any of them.

Recommended by Jeff Raderstrong, Program Associate, Collective Impact

Is Innovation to Blame for Inequality? - CityLab

A lot to chew on in this piece. The way these studies operationalize innovation is pretty narrow (number of patents per 1,000 residents), but the findings are still thought-provoking.

One study found that innovation over the past 25-30 years can be shown to account for 17% of the total increase in the share of income earned by the top 1%. At the same time, though, innovation was shown to significantly contribute to upward mobility.

The author’s conclusion really struck me. The real question in my mind is what those sweet spot strategies–the ones that promote innovation and also take low-income people into account–are.

In other words, maybe the takeaway is that we shouldn’t be satisfied by strategies that stimulate innovation for innovation’s sake. They need to be developed with the potential impact on inequality and low-income people in mind.

Recommended by Kevin Paul, Strategic Communications and Engagement Associate, Knowledge and Impact

Building Community Wealth Depends on Fostering Local Capacity - RoofLines

In a new Democracy Collaborative report titled Cities Building Community Wealth, the report, authored by Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley, profiles 20 cities that have begun to take steps on the path of building a new community-based, economic development paradigm, creating a systems approach that fosters local capacity, local ownership, and economic and racial inclusion.

So, what does a community wealth building approach to city economic development look like?

  • In Portland, Oregon, the Portland Development Commission has taken to using a participatory budgeting approach in which community members in targeted zones determine how best to budget city funds.

  • In Cleveland, Ohio, the City has worked with area hospital and university anchor institutions to increase contracting with local, minority, and women-owned businesses from 29 percent of contracting in 2010 to 39 percent in 2014.

  • In Philadelphia and Richmond, VA , the creation of new City offices, such as the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity and the Office of Community Wealth Building.

  • In Denver, Co., the city contributed $2.5 million to a transit oriented development land acquisition fund to ensure the proximity of affordable housing to transit.

  • And Missouri and Kansas have even entered into negotiations to “end tax incentives that only move jobs from one part of the region to another […] the aim is to create a new system that enables inclusive enterprises and communities to thrive and helps families increase economic security.”

Recommended by Tonya Banks, Senior Administrative Associate, Capital Innovation

Happy Reading!