Smart, targeted, and equitable public infrastructure investments can generate enormous community benefits—jobs, business opportunities, access to public transportation, and quality affordable housing. When we invest in infrastructure, we must always ask these questions: Who pays? Who benefits? Who bears the environmental impacts? And, who decides? To ensure all people benefit from these public investments, everyone—including and especially residents of low-income communities and communities of color—must have a seat at the negotiating table.
PolicyLink advocates for fair and inclusive policies and provides advocates, public officials, and other stakeholders with the tools, training, and consultation needed to ensure that public investments in infrastructure create economic opportunity and health equity in all communities.
Infrastructure Week, May 14-21
PolicyLink participated in #NationalInfrastructureWeek2018, an annual event focusing on garnering support for increased investment in the nation's infrastructure. Throughout the week, PolicyLink highlighted the need for targeted infrastructure investments to improve health and expand economic opportunity in low-income communities and communities of color. As part of this effort, we posted a series of #Build4Equity blog posts exploring infrastructure equity in our home state of California – offering recommendations and resources for advocates, policymakers, and other leaders in the infrastructure field.
- National Infrastructure Week: Equitable Infrastructure Investments Can Transform Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color
- Investing in Water Infrastructure Now is Critical for California's Future
- California's Infrastructure Needs a Makeover for a Climate Resilient Future
- Leveraging California's Transportation Investments to Achieve Triple Bottom Line Return
- Building Communities of Opportunity by Reducing Barriers to Housing
We also partnered with the Union of Concerned Scientists for a #Build4Resilience tweet chat on Wednesday, May 16 which focused on the role of climate smart infrastructure in building community resilience, advancing climate justice, and fostering an inclusive economy. View our Twitter memory for a recap.
The interwoven forces of climate change, rising sea levels, and widespread pollution are increasingly threatening precious water resources across the globe. In the United States, this issue is compounded by an aging and underfunded water infrastructure that leaves many regions dangerously vulnerable to extreme weather, droughts, floods, and water contamination. Although access to clean, affordable water is vital for every community, water stress hits hardest in low-income communities and communities of color, which are already overburdened by economic, environmental, and health challenges.
- PolicyLink launches the Water Equity and Climate Resilience Caucus @ Equity Summit 2018
The goal of the Caucus is to ensure that the communities that face water vulnerabilities can have their voice, experiences, challenges, and other issues meaningfully represented in water protection efforts; benefit from climate resilient water management; gain access to clean, affordable water; and win jobs and contracts in designing, building, operating, and maintaining green water infrastructure systems.
- US Water Alliance
PolicyLink is a member of the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization with a diverse membership base that represents the range of water champions: utilities, public officials, the business community, environmental organizations, community leaders, policy organizations, and researchers. PolicyLink, in coordination with the Alliance members, has been engaged with the Clean Water for All campaign, to promote and conserve clean water for everyone. Read more about the Equity and Justice initiative of the campaign.
Transportation is a crucial link to ensuring opportunity for all—connecting us to jobs, schools, housing, health care, and grocery stores. But, millions of low-income people and people of color live in communities where quality transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable, or nonexistent. Federal transportation policy choices—what we build, where we put it, who builds it, how we operate it, and what energy powers it—have an enormous impact on our economy, our climate, and our health. We must invest in a manner that builds a nation where all people can participate and prosper.
The Transportation Equity Caucus, which includes PolicyLink as a member, was formed by the nation's leading civil rights, community development, disability, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based, health, housing, labor, environmental justice, tribal, public interest, women's groups, and transportation organizations. The Caucus seeks to drivetransportation policies that advance economic and social equity in America.
Absent comprehensive and bold investment in our nation's housing infrastructure, the inequities in access to affordable, healthy housing will continue to grow. PolicyLink continues to forge partnerships with frontline organizing groups and national legal organizations to advocate for the next generation of equitable housing policies at local, state, and federal levels. See the housing section for more information.
Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development
PolicyLink works to expand the equity policy impact in five cities and one county using arts and culture strategies—within an equitable development framework—to win structural change for these communities. Read more.
High-quality neighborhoods and public infrastructure are fundamental building blocks for health and economic opportunity. The All-In Cities initiative works to make all neighborhoods healthy, connected communities of opportunity and advocates for infrastructure that increases connectivity and mobility for underserved communities. See resilient infrastructure as a key strategy for creating healthy communities that increases health, livability, mobility, opportunity, and resilience for vulnerable communities.