Social Equity Benefits the Downtown Economy by Progressive Urban Management Associates

Review By Maureen Atkinson, Senior Partner, Urban Marketing Collaborative

January 2016

PUMA Social Equity

Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA), the company that has been able to accurately point to the most important trends affecting Downtowns in the past ten years, has done it again. This article is a follow up on their widely acclaimed white paper: 2014 Global Trends Affecting Downtowns Report. Social Equity Benefits the Downtown Economy does a deeper dive into an important theme for all downtown professionals, the issue of making Downtowns welcoming for everyone not just the wealthiest residents.

The rationale for the benefits of social equity starts with the argument that the Millennials, the generation that will drive future growth, are more attuned to the issues of social equity – equality and opportunity. Based on this, PUMA suggests that the cities and downtowns that enable social equity will be the most successful ones in the future. The questions for many downtown professionals is: Where do we start? This white paper zooms in on four important areas:

  • Neighborhoods & Housing
  • Jobs & Education
  • Mobility
  • Retail.

These four key indicators promote both social equity and economic vitality in downtowns. Each section illustrates potential actions by showcasing programs in downtowns across America, providing some practical examples of what can be done.

This article is a must-read for downtown professionals because it points to some important benefits of social equity beyond the fact that it is the “right thing to do.” It will give the downtown professional ammunition for social equity programs that some downtown stakeholders may not support, as well as case studies on actions taken in other cities. Social Equity Benefits the Downtown Economy is an easy read and should be widely disseminated to everyone in the downtown industry.