A weekly round-up of articles and information focused on what it takes to build a new type of urban practice in American cities.

Living Cities works to build a new type of urban practice, geared toward achieving dramatically better results for low-income people, faster. This requires us to work together, across sectors, in new ways and drive resources toward proven solutions that catalyze lasting change. Our staff and partners tirelessly strive toward this big goal. This week we are sharing three different perspectives on what it might take to get there.

1. Meet the Woman Working to Change Low-Income Workers’ Prospects - By Lydia Dishman, Fast Company

In this article, Carmen Rojas, CEO of The Workers Lab, marries anecdotes and reflections from her own experience as a first-generation Latina with many family members who work in low-wage industries and organize low-wage constituencies with data and insights from her research and work (she holds a PhD in city and regional planning). The result is a nuanced and compelling case for how we must change low-income workers’ prospects. The efforts that Rojas describes are exciting, but what struck me the most about this article is how she is able to speak to the challenges that low-wage workers face from a place of deep understanding because, to her, these issues are not abstract. These challenges are her family and friends’ challenges. Rojas’ unique perspective underlines the need for diverse leaders and points of view in driving impactful social change efforts. On a personal note, Rojas is a former colleague at Living Cities and a friend, and I am so excited to see what she is doing at the helm of The Workers Lab!

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

2. The challenges of Baltimore (and the Nation) in Context - By Jennifer Vey, Brookings

No fires burned, and no stores were looted in my Baltimore neighborhood last week. The same held true for most across the region. Still, it was impossible to see these events unfold here and not be heartbroken by not only the harm they inflicted—on people, on businesses—but by the broader circumstances and conditions in which they took place.

  • “The answer lies in part in cities and regions’ ability to leverage their existing economic strengths in order to grow the kinds of industries where more and better jobs are created—and in ensuring that all residents have an opportunity to participate in that growth by investing in education, skills, infrastructure, and the revitalization of downtown and other employment centers in the urban core.” *

Recommended by Brian Nagendra, Senior Investment Associate, Capital Innovation.

3. A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science - Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (Infographic)

We increasingly orient our work around mutually agreed upon outcomes, measurable results, and evidence-based practice. Yet, in a world fraught with Buzzfeed style titles and a constant feed of social media delivered “facts,” how do you differentiate between something quotable and something questionable? Here’s a helpful guide that can help direct your thinking–and practice–toward what really works.

Recommended by Brittany Ramos, Field Builder, Collective Impact