The New Urban Practice Toolbox

Find, use, and share tools to get dramatically better and faster results for low-income people.

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In 2014, Living Cities put forward the concept of a New Urban Practice: one that engages leaders across sectors to dramatically improve the lives of low-income people. Many individuals and institutions are already doing great work. We hope that through this concept, we can all see our work as part of something bigger.

In 2015, we began to focus on putting the New Urban Practice into action. We created, used, curated, and shared tools that can make it easier for people to work together, to harness lessons learned by others, and to identify gaps in practice. We went out into the world and talked to people about their work and the tools that they have been using. We hosted a Summit to bring people together to introduce and engage with those tools. We scanned social media and the blogosphere.

We decided to dedicate our 2015 annual report #HereAndNow to sharing these tools in a ‘toolbox’ that can help you to put the New Urban Practice into action immediately in your city. This toolbox features some of the best tools that we have come across that can support you in applying critical elements of the New Urban Practice. We’ve also added a few new ones from Living Cities. One of the tools improves partnerships across sectors. Another analyzes the social impacts of potential capital investments. Others apply a racial equity lens to social change work.

Do you have a tool you’d like to add? Let us know!

We are dedicated to making this an open-sourced, vibrant community resource. As we find and launch new tools, we will add them to the site. It’s time to work smarter, better, and faster. Together.

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The Living Cities 2015 Summit

At 2015’s New Urban Practice Network Summit, leaders, dreamers, and doers from the fields of philanthropy, government, non-profits, technology, impact investing and businesses came together in Philadelphia. We discussed an ambitious vision for social change and provocative questions about inequality. And we identified significant, promising trends in our field. Those powerful conversations led to the toolbox below.

SEE NEW URBAN PRACTICE

A Letter from the Living Cities C.E.O.

“The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.”

In our 2014 Annual Report, we asked our member institutions and other partners in the social change field to respond to this question: “What will it take to dramatically improve the lives of low-income people, faster?” Throughout 2015, we received answers to this question from literally all over the United States. And at our #NewUrbanPractice Summit in May, we brought together leaders, dreamers, and doers from across sectors and the nation to tackle this same question.

READ THE FULL LETTER

THIS MONTH’S FEATURED TOOL

Results Scorecard by Results Leadership Group

Starting with the ends in mind helped us figure out who the right partners are to really move the needle on creating jobs and improving health. In the past, we’ve started with strategies and with what we already know how to do. Starting with our own familiar strategies limits how other important partners can get involved. We think the importance of RBA lies more in its use as a communication tool than as an evaluation tool. We want our Results Scorecard to let us publicly monitor our collective progress and share what we’re learning throughout our networks.

– Kirsten Wysen,
Project Manager, Communities of Opportunity;
Director’s Office, Health Policy and Planning, Public Health-Seattle & King County

GO TO THIS TOOL

THE TOOLKITS

CULTIVATING AND CONNECTING LEADERS

Change the culture of problem solving by being open to learning, collaboration, and rethinking prior assumptions.

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EXPANDING IMPACT INVESTING

Drive financial investment to achieve not just financial gains, but also measurable, powerful social and environmental impacts.

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ADVANCING RACIAL EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Make meaningful progress on racial equity and inclusion at all systemic levels with education, conversation and advocacy.

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DOUBLING DOWN ON DATA AND RESULTS

Use data in decision-making to produce dramatically better results for communities.

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ENGAGING COMMUNITY

Lead and take part in actionable, effective, and honest partnerships between government, institutions, communities, and individuals.

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HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY

Improve services, civic engagement, and data analysis by using digital technologies and social media.

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THE TOOLS

Show How You’re Performing and Contributing to High-Level Goals
How to Create Understanding, Growth, Empathy
Five Key Questions to Consider
Innovative, Effective, and Sustainable Solutions for Social Change
A Bibliography, Discussion Points, and Directory
Improve Results in Your Cross-Sector Partnership
Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate, Empower the Public
The i-teams Model for Effective Change
Use Textizen, CityVoice or Municipal to Engage with Residents
Collaboration is the New Competition
Rethinking Underwriting for Impact Investing
Harnessing Private Capital for Public Good
Put a Dollar Amount on Benefits of Community Development Projects
Create Engaging Reports on Cradle-to-Career Partnerships
Support Causes and Places that Matter to You
Innovative, Effective, and Sustainable Solutions for Social Change
Sound, User-tested Best Practices for Inclusive Civic Tech
Why and How Should We Work with the Community?
Invent, Adopt or Adapt Ideas For Better Results in the Development Sector
Code for America’s Curated Collection of Civic Tech Products
Helping Funders Work Together Better
Using Technology—Social Networks and Social Media—for Social Change.
Access Community and Market Data Across the U.S.
“Making it Work” in Challenging Circumstances
Change the Way the World Tackles Poverty

ADD TO OUR TOOLKITS

Do you have a suggestion for a tool to add to the Living Cities Toolbox? We’d love to hear your ideas and stories that will help us get faster, better results for low-income people.

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