London & Houston

PUBLIC POLICY Case Study

Just as large cities have become centres of excellence for specific sectors – such as New York for finance, San Francisco for technology or Texas for oil – it is also crucial that cities can become test cases for centres of equality. London and Houston are two cities perfectly positioned to achieve this and become global hubs for diversity and inclusion, although it’s clear that both cities have serious challenges to overcome in order to achieve this.

The horrors of the Grenfell Tower fire brought home the harsh realities of the severe disparity between London’s rich and poor, and Houston has been dubbed America’s most ‘economically segregated city’. But even so, there are certain criteria that make equity a truly viable goal for both London and Houston.

 

Both cities provide exemplary models for diversity as international melting pots that not only accommodate change, but also thrive on it. The similarities are clear: both are ethnically diverse, with Houston considered the most ethnically diverse city in America and London home to 300 spoken languages.

 

Both are global cities – London has been ranked the most powerful global city for the fifth year in a row by the 2016 Global Power City Index due to its top businesses, strong cultural offering and global transport links, while Houston is one of the world's leading medical research hubs and is seen as a microcosm of America – what happens in Houston today, happens in the rest of the US tomorrow.

 

The ability of both cities to adapt to a changing socio-demographic landscape and increasingly knowledge-based economy is further reflected in the cities’ economic inclusion strategies that focus on the promotion of integration as a key to success.

 

HOUSTON

PLAY

In terms of diversity, Houston is a city redesigning America’s future. This Texan enclave is now considered to be the most racially and ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the nation, surpassing even New York, as it faces the difficulties of trying to create an equitable and inclusive society for all.

 

According to Professor Stephen Klineberg, Founding Director of Rice Institute for Urban Research, one of the most widely accepted measures of ethnic diversity of any given population is the entropy index, which establishes the extent to which the population consists of equal fourths among America’s four major ethnic communities – Asian, Hispanic, African-American and non-Hispanic white.

 

This is precisely what makes Houston novel. If you look at the four major ethnic groups in the city – Anglo, black, Asian and Latino – all have significant numbers, with no one group substantially dominating.

 

‘Houston’s Fort Bend County may well be the most ethnically diverse county on the planet: that county today is 20 per cent Asian, 24 per cent Latino, 21 per cent African American and 34 per cent Anglo. You can’t get much closer to equal fourths than that,’ Professor Klineberg says.

 

As for Houston overall, Latinos make up the second-largest group after non-Hispanic whites, comprising approximately 35 per cent of the population. While the total number of Anglos has declined in the city of Houston and Harris County, the figure has increased in the metro region. Likewise, the number of African Americans, Latinos and Asians has increased even more rapidly, producing the ‘burgeoning diversity’ of the region, with Asian Americans remaining the fastest-growing group.

 

For 36 years, the ‘Kinder Houston Area Survey’ has measured and tracked the economic and demographic transformation of Houston and its residents and watched the world change. Its findings have proved fascinating in terms of revealing some remarkable trends: globalization and technology has seen a cut in blue-collar jobs, while the changing economy has led to growing inequalities in terms of access to equality education and technical skills. The entire nation is amid a major demographic transition, as the earlier generation of predominantly baby boomers and Anglos are now ageing, and being replaced by a new generation of Americans, largely composed of immigrants and their children, who are a mix of all the world’s ethnicities and religions.

‘No city in America has been transformed as fully, as completely, as suddenly, and as irreversibly as Houston, Texas. During the past three decades, Houston has transitioned from being throughout its history essentially a bi-racial Anglo-male-dominated Southern city into becoming, by most measures, thet single most ethnically and culturally diverse major metropolitan region in the country,’ Klineberg says.

 

Of course, it’s no real coincidence that Houston is on the cusp of defining America’s future when one considers its humble beginnings and famous inhabitants. Sam Houston, the Texas Governor whom the city is named after and who incorporated Texas into the United States, also fought for the rights of Native Americans, even marrying a Cherokee woman after joining the tribe for three years. What’s more, superstar Beyoncé was born and raised in Houston, a city which reflects her diverse world and undoubtedly influenced her ability to connect with people across all cultures

 

But when and how exactly did the modern transformation occur? While Houston’s population grew substantially between 1990 and 2010, its racial and ethnic diversity transformation has happened quickly and dramatically over the last 20 years. Between 2000 and 2010, the Houston metropolitan area added more people than any other metropolitan area in the United States – over 1.2 million

Jobs powered this revolution, including the tech and energy industries, which increased economic growth and employment opportunity, while affordable housing prices and the ease of doing business enabled immigrants to move to Houston and set up a life for themselves at a low cost. This led to significant changes not only to the city in terms of racial and ethnic diversity but also to residential segregation among all racial groups. While over this 20-year period there has been a decline in segregation between the groups, with some exceptions, some interesting trends have also emerged. Anglos remain the most segregated form of any other group when their population in the region is small, and less segregated when they are the majority population. Anglos are also more likely resist the idea of buying a home in a neighbourhood where most families are African American or Hispanic.

 

In this way, trends affecting Anglos remain comparatively stagnant.  On the other hand, the greatest decline in segregation between any two groups is between African Americans and Latinos. It is not clear if this is a result of the rise of more African American/Latino neighbourhoods in the Houston region or a consequence of some African American neighbourhoods transitioning to Latino neighbourhoods. However, African Americans continue to live substantially apart from Anglos and Asians, whereas Anglos and Asians are generally more likely to share neighbourhoods with each other than with other groups.

 

Meanwhile, on the ‘ageing of America’, Klineberg says it is both an ethnic and a socioeconomic divide as much as a generational one. Anglos constitute only a majority of the population among those aged over 63 in Harris County, while of all area residents aged 19 and younger, more than half (51 per cent) are Hispanic and another 19 per cent are African American.

These two groups, which comprise 70 per cent of all residents under the age of 20, are by far the most likely to be living in poverty and attending substandard and underfunded inner-city schools. On this Klineberg says that ‘if the disparities are not reduced, if too many of Houston’s black and Hispanic young people are unprepared to succeed in today’s global, knowledge-based economy, it is difficult to envision a prosperous future for Houston.’

 

Herein lies the main challenge for this thriving city – addressing the underlying factors that contribute to diversity and continuous segregation by harnessing the region’s burgeoning racial populations. In this respect, Klineberg says Houston has the opportunity to lead the nation in the transition to becoming a fully inclusive and unified multi-ethnic society.  Research predicts that after 2050, non-Hispanic whites will constitute less than half of the country’s population and the USA will look very much like Houston today. As time progresses, Houston itself will become increasingly Latino, in numbers growing from 47 per cent of the Harris County population in 2020 to 60 per cent by 2050, and the Anglo share of the population will drop – according to the census projections – from 28 per cent in 2020 to 16 per cent in 2050.

 

‘How we respond to the challenges inherent in the coming together of these two fundamental and irreversible transformations – in the nature of America’s economy and in the composition of its population – will determine the kind of city, the kind of state, the kind of country that we will build together in the twenty-first century,’ Klineberg said. Houston has changed not only in terms of race, ethnicity and age, but also in its attitudes, beliefs and experiences. When Anglo, black and Hispanic respondents were asked over the years to rate the relations that generally exist in the Houston area between their groups and each of the other two populations, all three communities gave increasingly positive ratings.  There has also been a clear decline in the fear of crime in Houston across ethnicities, with Hispanic immigrants far more likely than African Americans to say that they would feel comfortable calling the police if they needed assistance. There is a growing preference for a ‘walkable urbanism’, too, with more residents calling for for the city to be pleasant to walk around. Living in a place that is safe, comfortable and interesting to walk around has taken on greater importance in promoting growth, and usually centres around creating attractive public spaces such as parks and squares.

 

In addition, Houston is leading the way in tackling food insecurity in the city with its innovative health policy. Clinicians at Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System in 2015 began to examine the food struggles among patients at four medical sites, as well as emergency rooms and school-based clinics in areas with high rates of poverty. Medical staff must now routinely ask hospitalized patients about their food supply. Such questions include, ‘Did you run out of food in the prior month?’ or ‘Did you think that you would?’ Initial survey results showed that 11 per cent to 30 per cent said they did. This is particularly timely given that nearly one in eight Americans live with some degree of food insecurity.  This has led to hiring more community health workers in Houston to better connect patients with food banks and provide education on nutrition on a budget, including teaching on how to create vegetable gardens. In the process, preconceptions about poverty were debunked, showing that obese patients could often be suffering from food insecurity and that there were ‘hidden pockets of poverty’ in all of suburbia, including children, senior citizens and those who had been laid off.  Despite the continuing downturn in the oil patch and the region’s persistently high unemployment rates, area residents remain upbeat in their assessments of local job opportunities and of the quality of life in the Houston area as a whole. General attitudes have also shifted positively in terms of being more comfortable with diversity overall.

 

Anglo beliefs have shifted significantly over the years in their increasingly positive attitudes towards the impact of immigration and in their growing support for gay rights. With regard to both sets of issues, younger generations are the primary agents of change, readily taking for granted what older generations still find difficult to accept.  The research is unclear as to whether these systematic changes observed over 36 years in residents attitudes are the result of earlier generations changing their minds as a result of new experiences, or are due instead to the ‘coming of age’ of younger generations who bring more diverse views into society. However, Klineberg says there is a law of human nature that states, ‘What I am familiar with feels right and natural. What I’m unfamiliar with feels unnatural and somehow not quite right.’ And this is something that is slowly taking effect in Houston. Inevitably, what the older generations still find hard to accept in terms of the shifting economic and cultural tide, the younger generations take for granted as the norm and only world they know.

 

This natural and on-going process of ‘generational replacement’ will inevitably continue to guide the city’s transition into a more diverse region. But it’s up to the city of Houston to continue to invest in the skills needed by the upcoming generations and to find ways to bridge both ethnic divides and educational and income gaps, so it can be perfectly placed to be the equitable model of the future. This can be done by introducing unifying initiatives at both the community and policy level that will bring people together, such as cross-community meet-ups. This would foster economic growth and enable Houston to build a truly united and ethnically diverse society.

 

The Equitable City Model (ECM) that is developing in Houston can be taken on by other cities as a case example to develop policies centred on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Local governments should be encouraged to form partnerships with other cities to work in tandem to develop EDI strategies with clear targets for education and attainment levels, corporate hiring diversity, fairer income distribution and social mobility. Business leaders, MPs, councillors, senators and congressman are also encouraged to take ownership over their respective policy areas to implement a fair and equal city model based on Houston.  This way, other cities will be able to capitalize fully on the benefits of its young, multi-lingual and expanding diverse workforce to enable it to successfully compete on the world stage and, as Klineberg says, ‘build something that has never existed before in human history – a truly successful, inclusive, equitable and united multi-ethnic society, positioned for prosperity in the global, knowledge-based economy of the twenty-first century’.

LONDON

London is often regarded as one of the most diverse cities in the world. With over 300 languages spoken in it alone and one in three Londoners born outside of the UK, the diversity and tolerance of people from all walks of life is one of its greatest strengths. It provides the thriving metropolis with great opportunities to experiment with implementing effective integration and diversity models in public policy. One need only look at the city’s strong resistance to Brexit, at odds with the rest of the country, to illustrate this point. Dubbed ‘economic self-sabotage’ by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the devastation when Britain voted to leave the EU was felt by almost all Londoners.

 

While the future of Brexit’s impact on the economy remains uncertain, there is no doubt that London will continue to dominate as a financial centre and global leader in international investment and trading, particularly as a fifth of Europe’s 500 largest companies have their headquarters in London and the majority of its global workforce and foreign CEOs reside in the UK’s capital to conduct business.

 

For example, CEO of Credit Suisse, Tidjane Thiam, the first black person to head a FTSE 100 company, was born in Côte d’Ivoire but is based in London. In 2016, Thiam was named the fifth best-paid CEO in the FTSE 100 and has served as chief executive for two of Europe’s biggest companies: Prudential UK and Credit Suisse. With such close economic and cultural ties across Europe, London is therefore perfectly positioned, in terms of geography, time zone and legal systems to retain its role as a world leader in the financial sector even post-Brexit. Its opposition to immigration is also significantly weaker than other cities because its citizens are more accepting and happier to co-exist and just ‘get on’ with things.

 

Even in the face of the Westminster and London Bridge terrorist attacks, and the increasingly anti-immigration political rhetoric in the UK, terrorism has only made this city stronger, rather than turning citizens against each other. Londoners stuck together and remain accepting of Muslims, and have demonstrated this support unequivocally in electing and accepting Muslim Sadiq Khan as their mayor.

In recognizing the vital role that cities play in supporting people from diverse backgrounds to interact with one another, Khan pledged in 2016 to make social integration a ‘core’ priority for London. His policy involves strengthening the social ties between Londoners and those from all walks of life to create a more productive, healthier and prosperous city for all.

 

‘London is one of the most diverse and open cities in the world, and in our city, we don’t just tolerate our differences, we respect and celebrate them. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from across the UK and across the world choose to come here to live, work and study, contributing to every aspect of life in our city, and they are most welcome in London and in our communities,’ Khan stated in The Challenge’s report on integration.

 

It is this ethnic and racial diversity within London’s culture, particularly in its workforce, that is very much key to its success. Even traditional elite sectors like the tech industry are starting to break the traditional mould and see the value of diversity, as a number of rising thought leaders originating from various ethnicities branch out. For example, World Remit, a London-based money transfer service that lets people send money to family and friends in other countries, founded by Somali-born Ismael Ahmed, has been valued at more than $500 million USD.

 

Even London’s infrastructure reflects its increasing acceptance of diversity – its skyline clearly illustrates the stark contrasts in its buildings. Writer Banseke Kayembe sums it up poetically: ‘London is a medley of contrasting buildings where no two iconic structures look the same; the skyline mimics the city’s own diversity. The decaying landmark the Palace of Westminster can coexist in harmony easily with the gleaming new Qatari-built structure The Shard.’

But of course there is a stark difference between the experiences of those who live and work in London’s glitzy towers and those who live in the council blocks that make up a lot of its residential areas, and this was brought out of the shadows when at least 80 (the exact number is unknown) Kensington & Chelsea council tenants tragically lost their lives because ‘profit was put before people’ at Grenfell Tower in June 2017. Cost-cutting strategies meant adequate fire safety mechanisms were not in place when an inferno erupted in the 24-storey block.

 

This in a borough where over the years the poor working-class community has triumphed and somehow thrived in the face of adversity, perhaps the most famous example of this being the Notting Hill Carnival in North Kensington, where community activists addressed racial violence in the 1950s by creating the biggest street party in Europe – an annual event that has come to represent London’s diversity in all its multicoloured splendour.

 

Ironically it is this same community that has experienced the much subtler neglect by their middle- and upper-class neighbours. (I say middle class but there is no longer any ‘middle’ class, as the gap has widened to the point that middle-income people cannot afford to live in Kensington unless they live in council (government) or social housing.) Twenty-first-century globalization has led to the phenomenal rise in the cost of housing in London as the world’s richest have purchased ‘investment’ properties in the capital, favouring boroughs like Kensington & Chelsea.

 

This has resulted in pockets of working-class communities existing like reservations of indigenous people surrounded by wealth and luxury that would rather those inconvenient pockets disappear. It is this growing class divide that the residents of Grenfell became victims of. The Grenfell fire has become a symbol of the inequities between London’s haves and have-nots. This problem is perhaps one of the city’s biggest challenges and will need to be adequately tackled in order for London to fulfil its true potential.

 

There is interesting research coming out that demonstrates just how traditional assumptions about London are shifting. A recent report by the Centre for London, a think-tank dedicated to finding new solutions to the capital’s challenges, studied poverty and wealth in London, looking at how inner and outer boroughs have changed over the last two decades and are becoming less defined.

 

The study found that since 2001, London’s population has changed dramatically as a result of both natural growth and international migration: 3.8 million people arrived in London between 2001 and 2009, while 3.4 million left the city. As London continues to grow rapidly in population size, today only 45 per cent of the population is white British.

 

London’s geography of wealth and poverty has also seen a marked shift. The assumption that inner London boroughs are poorer than outer boroughs has been overturned in just over 10 years. In fact, data shows that poverty rates in inner East London have fallen, while rates in many outer London boroughs have risen. In addition, many inner East London boroughs have seen a growth in the share of their population who work in wealthier, higher professional occupations, while the outer West London boroughs have seen a decrease or stall, with poorer, lower-skilled workers moving to more affordable parts outside of the city. However, alongside this unprecedented increase in higher-skilled residents, the proportion of children and old people in inner East London who live in poverty is still the highest in the country.

 

While outer London boroughs were traditionally more homogenous two decades ago, today they are now as cosmopolitan, if not more so, than inner London boroughs, with foreign populations doubling across a number of boroughs over the last 20 years. These shifting dynamics in London’s demographics present new challenges to diversity. To meet the needs of this growing and changing landscape, London has focused on creating more green and public spaces. The vast number of green and riverside public spaces has played a valuable role in improving the quality, character and economy of London, and also benefited low-income Londoners.  Likewise, London is working towards annual housing targets with the mayor’s announcement in late 2016 of new plans to build 90,000 affordable homes in the capital over the next five years to respond to the housing shortage.  Surveys show that the city’s local cohesion, as measured by the proportion of people agreeing to the statement ‘people from different backgrounds get together in my local area’ – is already high and has increased over the last decade. More than 90 per cent of Londoners now agree that people in their local area get on well together, according to a 2016 Community Life Survey. And yet still the city is not without its challenges.

 

Despite being a diverse city, London is largely divided in terms of the comparative levels of integration between people from different walks of life. It is also frequently said to have greater income disparity than other larger cities. Moreover, major policy changes to public services and health, including continuing cuts to funding, have impacted London’s progress. The Centre for London contends that outer London in particular now has a larger, poorer population than a decade ago, putting greater pressure on the NHS to respond to the changing balance of growth and the ageing population. Institutions within the voluntary sector set up to address city poverty in London are also under attack, including trusts and foundations. As outer London poverty becomes a growing challenge, resources must be refocused to meet this emerging need.

Having access to economic opportunities also remains critical for London to continue to flourish, particularly in the light of research that shows that outer London boroughs are less well connected by public transport. This means that poorer people who move into these areas become more at risk of isolation from jobs and other opportunities in central London.  It is therefore important that London invests in new ways to contribute and grow the talent of its diverse communities in order to deliver good growth as well as respond to the rising social and economic pressures resulting from an ageing population, housing shortages and unemployment.

 

The British Council provides a strong case for this by drawing upon the workforce, partners, friends and contacts to enhance the implementation of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in order to capture and disseminate similar good practices in EDI policy across the world.  As part of a six-month research project in collaboration with researchers from Middlesex University and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the UK’s principle cultural relations organization is aiming to mainstream equality, diversity and inclusion through harnessing the contributions and talents of its global staff and provide best practices in line with its diverse values.  According to the British Council’s EDI strategy, ‘that means taking diversity into account as we develop and deliver processes and functions, considering it as part of policy decisions and building it into the planning of programmes and projects’.

Interestingly, the SOAS is also the only university led by a black woman, Director and Baroness Valerie Amos, who has served as the previous Under-Secretary General for the Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations.

 

Like the British Council, the University of Oxford has also made a commitment to fostering an inclusive work culture by diversifying its curriculum to promote equality. Its seminars and online equality and diversity course introduce staff to the meaning of equality and offer advice on how to create an inclusive workplace to ensure EDI is embedded in all of its work. It even recently set up a diversity fund to provide resources for innovative projects to promote diversity. Other cities and institutions can follow these models through leveraging private-sector investment and working in partnership with the public sector and communities. Local governments can also work towards building a more integrated city to promote socio-economic development and encourage people from all ethnicities to flourish.

 

According to Jessica Shepherd from The Challenge, the UK’s leading charity for building a more integrated society, national institutions can bring people together at vulnerable points in their lives and help develop communities and common spaces that enable us to mix and become more trusting and resilient.

‘When people mix people from different backgrounds, they are less likely to display prejudices, and more likely to be trusting and feel empowered in their community. It is important, then, that we focus on what we have in common, our core sense of humanity, and work to get along with one other. Whatever our background, regardless of where we are from, we can always find a common cause.’ It is therefore important that policy makers and social entrepreneurs focus on integration between people from all groups through reforming best practice on EDI strategies and promoting active participation in community life to strengthen the ties that bind us together. Policy decisions affect us all and can benefit us all. So it’s important that all those in society are accounted for in order for us to lead truly interconnected lives.

London’s growth – like that of all big cities – will ultimately depend on the quality of the places it creates and its ability to foster economic opportunities that help young and diverse populations prosper for the benefit of society. As the world becomes increasingly diverse, we must ensure we all follow in London’s footsteps by responding to this new reality. Only through creating social and cultural institutions that encourage us to mix with others and place social integration at the forefront can we reap the gains of truly inclusive cities.

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Herein lies the main challenge for this thriving city – addressing the underlying factors that contribute to diversity and continuous segregation by harnessing the region’s burgeoning racial populations. In this respect, Klineberg says Houston has the opportunity to lead the nation in the transition to becoming a fully inclusive and unified multi-ethnic society.  Research predicts that after 2050, non-Hispanic whites will constitute less than half of the country’s population and the USA will look very much like Houston today. As time progresses, Houston itself will become increasingly Latino, in numbers growing from 47 per cent of the Harris County population in 2020 to 60 per cent by 2050, and the Anglo share of the population will drop – according to the census projections – from 28 per cent in 2020 to 16 per cent in 2050.

 

‘How we respond to the challenges inherent in the coming together of these two fundamental and irreversible transformations – in the nature of America’s economy and in the composition of its population – will determine the kind of city, the kind of state, the kind of country that we will build together in the twenty-first century,’ Klineberg said. Houston has changed not only in terms of race, ethnicity and age, but also in its attitudes, beliefs and experiences. When Anglo, black and Hispanic respondents were asked over the years to rate the relations that generally exist in the Houston area between their groups and each of the other two populations, all three communities gave increasingly positive ratings.  There has also been a clear decline in the fear of crime in Houston across ethnicities, with Hispanic immigrants far more likely than African Americans to say that they would feel comfortable calling the police if they needed assistance. There is a growing preference for a ‘walkable urbanism’, too, with more residents calling for for the city to be pleasant to walk around. Living in a place that is safe, comfortable and interesting to walk around has taken on greater importance in promoting growth, and usually centres around creating attractive public spaces such as parks and squares.

 

 

In addition, Houston is leading the way in tackling food insecurity in the city with its innovative health policy. Clinicians at Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System in 2015 began to examine the food struggles among patients at four medical sites, as well as emergency rooms and school-based clinics in areas with high rates of poverty. Medical staff must now routinely ask hospitalized patients about their food supply. Such questions include, ‘Did you run out of food in the prior month?’ or ‘Did you think that you would?’ Initial survey results showed that 11 per cent to 30 per cent said they did. This is particularly timely given that nearly one in eight Americans live with some degree of food insecurity.  This has led to hiring more community health workers in Houston to better connect patients with food banks and provide education on nutrition on a budget, including teaching on how to create vegetable gardens. In the process, preconceptions about poverty were debunked, showing that obese patients could often be suffering from food insecurity and that there were ‘hidden pockets of poverty’ in all of suburbia, including children, senior citizens and those who had been laid off.  Despite the continuing downturn in the oil patch and the region’s persistently high unemployment rates, area residents remain upbeat in their assessments of local job opportunities and of the quality of life in the Houston area as a whole. General attitudes have also shifted positively in terms of being more comfortable with diversity overall.

 

Anglo beliefs have shifted significantly over the years in their increasingly positive attitudes towards the impact of immigration and in their growing support for gay rights. With regard to both sets of issues, younger generations are the primary agents of change, readily taking for granted what older generations still find difficult to accept.  The research is unclear as to whether these systematic changes observed over 36 years in residents attitudes are the result of earlier generations changing their minds as a result of new experiences, or are due instead to the ‘coming of age’ of younger generations who bring more diverse views into society. However, Klineberg says there is a law of human nature that states, ‘What I am familiar with feels right and natural. What I’m unfamiliar with feels unnatural and somehow not quite right.’ And this is something that is slowly taking effect in Houston. Inevitably, what the older generations still find hard to accept in terms of the shifting economic and cultural tide, the younger generations take for granted as the norm and only world they know.

 

This natural and on-going process of ‘generational replacement’ will inevitably continue to guide the city’s transition into a more diverse region. But it’s up to the city of Houston to continue to invest in the skills needed by the upcoming generations and to find ways to bridge both ethnic divides and educational and income gaps, so it can be perfectly placed to be the equitable model of the future. This can be done by introducing unifying initiatives at both the community and policy level that will bring people together, such as cross-community meet-ups. This would foster economic growth and enable Houston to build a truly united and ethnically diverse society.

 

The Equitable City Model (ECM) that is developing in Houston can be taken on by other cities as a case example to develop policies centred on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Local governments should be encouraged to form partnerships with other cities to work in tandem to develop EDI strategies with clear targets for education and attainment levels, corporate hiring diversity, fairer income distribution and social mobility. Business leaders, MPs, councillors, senators and congressman are also encouraged to take ownership over their respective policy areas to implement a fair and equal city model based on Houston.  This way, other cities will be able to capitalize fully on the benefits of its young, multi-lingual and expanding diverse workforce to enable it to successfully compete on the world stage and, as Klineberg says, ‘build something that has never existed before in human history – a truly successful, inclusive, equitable and united multi-ethnic society, positioned for prosperity in the global, knowledge-based economy of the twenty-first century’.

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