Bruce Katz: We’re really talking about alignment in our work. Take “Fix It First” [a strategy in the Detroit region to invest in existing transportation infrastructure in the city and inner-ring suburbs before building new roads in the suburbs]. We’re making three arguments in favor of the program: efficiency, fiscal responsibility, and equity. All of those come together in a politician’s mind. We’re not promoting just competitiveness, but inclusive growth also.
john powell: In Cleveland, African-American leadership has pushed back against regionalism, saying it has been driven by the white suburbs. They want a kind of regionalism where the interests of African-Americans are up front, and they are pushing us to better say where regionalism has actually benefited marginalized people, and where it hasn’t.
Carl Anthony: The people in leadership understand the language of competitiveness. They don’t really understand racism and inequality. I don’t think you can really make an argument that we should talk about mixed-income housing, workforce housing, and all these things, as if racism doesn’t exist. I think it is necessary to lift this up, and there is going to be tension there. But I don’t think you can get black people in substantial numbers involved in this kind of discussion unless we deal specifically with race. I think the reality is that we’re going to have to do both.
Excerpted from Edging Toward Equity: Creating Shared Opportunity in America’s Regions, Report from the Conversation on Regional Equity (CORE ) By Manuel Pastor, Chris Benner, and Rachel Rosner, Center for Justice, Tolerance and Community, University of California, Santa Cruz.