Disparity is a feature of many American cities. But it doesn’t have to be, argues a national research group focusing on equity. An interactive new, pick-your-own-policy adventure tool from PolicyLink helps connect equity issues, like access to jobs, economic development and affordable housing, to specific policy reforms. Under broad topics — including good jobs, healthy neighborhoods or democracy and justice — a list of possible strategies and policy solutions for each provides explanations and examples of municipalities that have already implemented changes.
“Racial inequities in income, health, and other indicators of social and economic well-being are not inevitable,” explains the site. “They have been created and perpetuated over time through systemic bias, public policy, and institutional practices, and eliminating these inequities requires thoroughly analyzing existing and proposed policies to root out bias and promote equity, opportunity, and inclusion.”
For policymakers and community leaders, the tool provides a good starting point for thinking through the impact and potential of policies in their own cities.
Interested in limiting police use of force? The tool explains relevant policies should “establish reporting, investigation, and oversight systems to ensure that all incidents are promptly reported and independently investigated,” in addition to specific de-escalation training for officers and partnerships with mental health professionals for more appropriate crises responses. It then links to data from the Police Use of Force Project that analyzed policies from 91 of the 100 largest cities.
The tool offers similar analysis for everything from resilient infrastructure to inclusive contracting. Check it out here.