Center for Equitable Cities

Adler’s Newest Center Advocates for Equity in Chicago and Beyond

August 23, 2017

Building upon its history of formative work within Chicago’s communities, Adler University is launching The Center for Equitable Cities. Aimed at propelling research, learning, and Adler’s social justice mission, the University’s fourth center will advocate for policies and practices that remedy social, economic, and political inequalities plaguing communities throughout the city and world.

“Many of our city’s most pressing social issues can be attributed to growing forms of inequality,” said Dr. Dan Cooper, executive director for the Center for Equitable Cities. “If we continue to address each of our issues, like violence, in isolation, we will only be treating the symptoms of much larger structural problems. Now more than ever we need to shift our focus to equitable policies and practices that address root causes, like longstanding segregation and disadvantage.”

Cooper, who has collaborated with city leaders to refine the center’s concept, says nearly all urban social issues can be best addressed by reversing historical patterns of inequality. Examples of existing disparities include racial segregation, growing wage and wealth gaps, lack of affordable housing, the misrepresentation of marginalized populations among elected officials, and voter disenfranchisement.

The Center for Equitable Cities will serve as an information clearinghouse mobilizing those in the Adler community. While initial groundwork will be rooted locally, future opportunities will comprise faculty and students from all three of the University’s campuses in Chicago, Vancouver, and Online.

The Institute’s work will include:

  • Conducting original research on the intersections of inequality in Chicago across time and space.
  • Presenting compelling data visualizations to persuade lawmakers and the general public about the importance of inequality.
  • Documenting and evaluating current policies and practices that have positively addressed inequality.
  • Completing action-oriented research alongside existing organizations to understand efforts already underway while advocating for a city-wide approach.
  • Identifying gaps and opportunities in legislation, policy, and resource allocation to most efficiently address symptoms and sources of urban inequality.

Adler policy experts discuss the challenges and opportunities around creating equitable cities, including the need to better anticipate unintended consequences of policies on vulnerable communities and the importance of bringing those individuals to the decision table.

Public and private sectors and the social contract – Valerie Werner
Pay now or pay (more) later: investing in community – Dan Cooper
Nothing about us without us – Tiffany McDowell