“OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL: THE QUESTION EVERY CITY SHOULD ASK, AND ANSWER” is a very inspiring article, and gives me some insights of the issue of equity.
The article raises one crucial question: how can cities better connect all residents to economic opportunity? This question strikes me, and I think Detroit need to give an answer to this question. People say Detroit is a city rising from the ashes, but I think this statement is little inappropriate. From my observation, only areas surrounding downtown are rising, but the rest of Detroit is still in the ashes.
The imbalance of economic development in Detroit is heartbreaking, and the most disappointing part is exclusion in Detroit is becoming more and more intensified. When I was interviewing Regina, the SWOT city portfolio manager of TechTown, she said she is from Osborn, a relatively underdeveloped neighborhood in Detroit, and fifteen years ago when she went to high school in downtown area, she felt inclusive. However, now when her children go to school in downtown area, they feel they do not belong to there. That is sad, and pushes me to start thinking what is the key of equity, and how to achieve equity.
The article gives some answers. I strongly agree with the discussion about “small” and “all” in the article. Equity is a big, and eternal issue. Thousands of years, we seldom have a good solution to the problem. One of the possible reasons I think is all the solutions we have are always big. Anything big must has hierarchy. This is inevitable, because big things need hierarchy and leadership to sustain its stability, and stability can guarantee success. Consequently, hierarchy causes exclusion. Several years ago, a nationwide movement protesting for inequity burst out in New York. The famous Occupy Wall Street movement has a famous and exciting slogan ”We are the 99 percent”. It looks like a just protest for income inequity and wealth distribution for most of the people in the United States. However, the true story is ironic. The leadership of the movement is made up of highly educated people. They graduate from those great education institutions, and they called themselves “the 99 percent”. They were unsatisfied with the inequality, because they could not become “the 1 percent”. Thus, they led the true ”99 percent” to protest. The outcome of this movement was those so-called “99 percent” became “the 1 percent”, and the true “99 percent” went back home and continued their lives as if nothing happened at all. In big things, people who should be included are at the bottom of the hierarchy, and nothing really changes. People may argue that at lease these people’s voices are heard through those big things. But it is not enough to be heard to make a difference. People should make their own decision but not only be heard.
The article discusses a lot about how to give equal opportunities to everyone. But I think opportunities that are given will never be equal. Instead, the true equity is people can create their own opportunities. The governors often define themselves as leaders, listeners or helpers. However, these roles are unequal by nature. I think they should be guiders. They should guide people to create their own opportunities. Social entrepreneurship I think can really achieve this goal. Social entrepreneurship makes everyone an entrepreneur, and makes people change their lives with the way they want. Social entrepreneurship is about “small” and “all”. Maybe opening a coffee shop or starting a small business is small to a city, but is big enough to an individual to change his or her own density.