Envisioning a More Equitable and Sustainable Future

Life has turned upside down for families and communities around the world over the past several months. Inequality, poverty, and lack of access to basic needs, which we have long struggled with in our communities, has been made exponentially worse by this global pandemic and its economic fallout. CNT’s staff (working from home) is continuing to help cities solve today’s problems while creating visions for the future of sustainable, equitable communities. It is our hope that when this is all over we can do more than just bounce back, but rather create places for everyone to thrive.

In February, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot convened a day-long STEP (Solutions Towards Ending Poverty) Summit on entrenched poverty and economic hardships that touched on many of these issues. The Summit marked the launch of a City-led, community-focused project to draw national attention to the challenges of poverty and highlight the success of coordinated strategies across the city to move people out of poverty and into the middle class.  Presenters offered a range of approaches to the hundreds of attendees which included the need to establish a roadmap that shows how the City can end economic hardship and poverty using community-centered metrics to measure the work on an ongoing basis, and to share, scale and replicate successful strategies in Chicago and other cities also combating these issues.

Lori E. Lightfoot with City Bureau Director and journalist Darryl Holliday discussing  innovative ideas to lift people out of poverty.

“We cannot be great as a city when our neighbors are suffering. We must conquer this in our generation, in our time, and we must start now. …We have the tools and the know how to be a beacon for this issue.”
– Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot

CNT’s Urban Opportunity Agenda provides tools for civic leaders, advocates, and community members to see the potential for sustainability strategies to reduce poverty in their communities by creating jobs, lowering the cost of living, and helping low-income families achieve financial stability while making cities more efficient for everyone.

CNT’s newly launched Urban Opportunity Agenda strategy calculator provides a unique look at the possibilities that reducing poverty and fighting climate change simultaneously can bring to over 100 cities—home to 65 million people, including over 11 million people currently living in poverty today.

Whether it’s by reducing energy bills and emissions through energy efficiency, building sustainable infrastructure with local workers, or expanding transit access to jobs, targeted investment can reduce poverty while creating the resilience we need to meet the challenges of this century.

If you would like CNT’s help applying these ideas to your city, please reach out to Jen McGraw (jen@cnt.org) for more information.

Urban Opportunity Agenda Website Launched

The Urban Opportunity Agenda website provides profiles of more than 100 U.S. cities with the largest populations of individuals living below the poverty threshold across all 50 states. It allows users to set a poverty reduction goal and quantify the scale of impact of a portfolio of sustainability strategies in their communities... more

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