The nonprofit Urban Institute and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth announced a new collaboration to equip city and community leaders with insights and measurement tools to better understand how technology can improve quality of life for all residents.
As cities implement new technologies, some residents are at risk of being left behind without access to everything from government programs to computers and software, further exacerbating inequality. The public and private sectors can use data-driven approaches to boost economic mobility and improve services for residents, especially as those services are being digitized, but these approaches will require input from residents and a rigorous approach to evaluating progress.
As part of this collaboration, the Urban Institute will
- conduct research and analyses on how cities and the private sector can work together to drive inclusive growth and advance economic mobility among residents,
- develop practical metrics and tools to measure whether people’s lives are improving as new technologies are deployed, and
- work with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to share knowledge between various city leaders, policymakers, technology companies, and nonprofits to scale best practices.
Accelerating Innovation for Inclusion is a two-year initiative powered by a $1.5 million grant from the Mastercard Impact Fund. The grant was announced to coincide with the Urban Institute’s Next50 Changemaker Forum, an event to commemorate Urban’s 50th anniversary and to launch a new research agenda for the future. As part of its Next50 initiative, Urban is exploring what it would take to advance greater economic mobility and opportunity in the decades to come.
“Technology is improving lives and connecting people in unprecedented ways, yet too many people are still being left behind simply because of where they live,” said Shamina Singh, founder and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “Working across public, private, and nonprofit sectors, we can build a digital economy that works for everyone, everywhere. By being thoughtful about how we pursue innovation, we can help city leaders address the broad range of complex challenges necessary to ensure inclusive growth.”
In the initial phase of the collaboration, Urban will focus on how technology can be leveraged to support growth in underinvested communities and improve equitable access to transportation and services.
The Accelerating Innovation for Inclusion initiative builds on an earlier collaboration (PDF) between Urban and the Center for Inclusive Growth, in which researchers interviewed city leaders, researchers, advocates, and experts to explore trends in technological change and to identify how those trends could exacerbate or mitigate inequalities in cities.