A weekly round-up of articles and information you won't want to miss!

This week, we’re looking at thought-provoking articles across the issues we care most about - from building networks and deepening relationships for social change, to innovative uses of public data, to new approaches to advance racial equity. Happy Reading!

Influence and Evaluation

Intentional Influence - Stanford Social Innovation Review

This five-part series from the Stanford Social Innovation Review explores why organizations should pursue influence with intentionality, how they can think about focusing their efforts, and what barriers of their own creation they must overcome to use influence effectively. At Living Cities, we think of influence as core to our open sourcing social change and network strategies that cut across all of our work. These strategies are aimed at accelerating and expanding the reach of our efforts and investments by sharing what we are learning broadly so that others can learn along with us and build on what we are learning; and so that we can engage with others and learn from their work. Wielding influence enables us to position ourselves as leaders in our problem solving network, to grow that network and deepen relationships and to help to move the social change field (ourselves included) towards what works. The series includes exploration of influence tools and strategies including community organizing and advocacy, choice architecture and messaging and communications.

Recommended by Nadia Owusu, Assistant Director of Strategic Communications and Storytelling

Public Sector Innovation

Mapping New York’s Vacant Lots, To Use Them To Create A More Vibrant City - Fast Company

A recent Fast Company article tells the trajectory of the work of 569 Acres in New York City (NYC). The organization digitized all of NYC’s urban renewal land records (which designate uses for vacant parcels of land for community access purposes), and then made that information available to community members to reclaim and develop the land appropriately. It’s a great story, especially to those interested in open data in service of low-income people.

Recommended by Tiffany Ferguson, Program Assistant, Public Sector Innovation

Racial Equity and Inclusion

Diversity Explosion - The Brookings Institution

Demographer William Frey from Brookings shares news about increased diversity in the coming decades. One statistic that stood out: Today, of those under the age of 17, more than 45% of the population are latino/hispanic, black, asian, more than two races or other races.

Recommended by Brian Nagendra, Senior Associate, Capital Innovation

Want a Stronger Economy? Focus on More Racial Inclusion - Rooflines, The Shelterforce Blog

A host of new demographic and equity indicators are now available for all states and the largest 150 metros through a recently released National Equity Atlas. The Atlas, build by Policy Link and PERE, is a “first-of-its-kind data and policy tool for those working to build a more equitable economy.” It’s been released to “provide community leaders and policymakers with the data they need to advocate for the policies and investments to build a new economy that is inclusive, resilient, and prosperous.” The article highlight some jarring statistics and provides a few ideas on[what to do with the Atlas.

Recommended by Tonya Banks, Senior Administrative Associate, Capital Innovation

Collective Impact, Privilege and Empathy - FSG

This blog from FSG explores how empathy and privilege show up in collective impact, and is a part of the growing field-level dialogue on Racial Equity and Inclusion in collective impact. The post explores a number of inclusion initiatives (including some of Living Cities’ own) and asks the question, “How have you been able to practice empathy?”

Recommended by Juan Sebastian Arias, Program Associate, Collective Impact