Amy Chung | Living Cities

By late 2016, Bay Area commuters will likely begin to see the first of a fleet of futuristic new BART trains barreling from San Francisco through the upper Peninsula, the East Bay and new stations slated to open in the coming years closer to Silicon Valley in Fremont, Milpitas and Northern San Jose.The geography of opportunity today has changed. People often traverse neighborhoods, cities, counties and even regions to access job opportunities and the essential services (e.g., healthcare, childcare, grocery stores, etc.) needed to support themselves and their families. Low-income communities are often disproportionately affected by this dynamic and cut-off from access to opportunity by sheer distance, limited access to public transit or other means of transportation, and by numerous barriers beyond physical mobility, such as lack of broadband access.

Through our Connect work, Living Cities is deepening our understanding of how to address these barriers and increase the number of low-income individuals with affordable access to job opportunities and essential services. We are currently exploring the following strategies:

1. ALIGNING RESOURCES & POLICIES TO ENSURE THAT NEIGHBORHOODS OFFER BETTER ACCESS

So far, much of Living Cities’ work in this space has focused on advancing equitable transit-oriented development (“equitable TOD”). Equitable TOD aims to ensure that all people along transit corridors, including low-income individuals, have the opportunity to affordably access jobs, housing, health clinics, child care, and other essential services.

As part of this work, Living Cities has partnered with the [Low Income Investment Fund and Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) to explore the state of equitable TOD efforts in several western regions – the Bay Area, Denver, Los Angeles and Seattle. As part of this exploration, we worked with our national and regional partners to host Capital Absorptionworkshops in each region with local leaders from community organizations, philanthropy, developers, lenders, investors and public sector agencies, including transit and housing authorities. These workshops facilitated an open dialogue about participants’ regional vision for equitable TOD and the related resources and policies that together form the “landing pad” for capital investment in support of that vision. Read more