How does a city impacted by decades of crime, poverty, unemployment and divestment rise again?
The answer can be found in a place often overlooked by many—New Jersey’s largest city, Newark.
Crime is at a 50-year low; 3,000 jobs have been added in the last year; more than $2 billion in commercial investments have been made; and downtown is booming with new residential developments, a jazz museum and a Whole Foods. Once-crumbling art deco buildings are being restored, barren land now hosts farmers’ markets. Most importantly, Newark’s resurgence has been led by one guiding principle—to benefit the diverse community that already calls the city home.
“Newark has been positioned for decades at the nexus of inequality and opportunity,” writes Lata Reddy, senior vice president, Diversity, Inclusion & Impact at Prudential Financial, in an op-ed featured in the Huffington Post. “However, once-intractable problems are beginning to shift.”
In “Newark on the Rise: A Model of Inclusive Economic Growth,” Reddy writes that the key driver of the city’s resurgence is a unique model spearheaded by the city’s anchor institutions—which includes deep-rooted businesses like Prudential. While other cities’ redevelopment plans have often displaced or overlooked lower-income communities, Newark business leaders have adopted Mayor Ras Baraka’s “Hire Local, Buy Local, Live Local” strategy, creating “pathways of opportunity” for residents through capital investment and catalytic philanthropy.
“Cities like Newark play a role in being either accelerators or barriers to mobility, and we have learned a lot working with the community—through successes and failures—to advance inclusive growth,” Reddy writes. “Newark has quite a lot to offer as a blueprint for other cities.”
Reddy cites four lessons that other cities can learn to create growth and opportunity for all residents. By reimagining anchor institutions, connecting people and places, strengthening intermediaries, and building amenities, stakeholders in a city’s future can create the infrastructure necessary to create inclusive growth that preserves a city’s character and history—while securing its future.
To learn more, read “Newark on the Rise: A Model of Inclusive Economic Growth” in the Huffington Post.