January 25, 2017

Dace West of the Stanford Social Innovation Review writes on the connection between quality of life and efficient public transit systems in low-income communities.

The article starts with an example of an initiative in Denver, known as the Mile High Connects (MHC). The MHC is an initiative where Denver, Colorado voters approved a nearly $8 billion transit expansion throughout the city’s region. The goal, according to the Spring 2016 article, is “to ensure that Denver’s transit build-out benefits low-income communities and communities of color by connecting them to affordable housing, healthy environments, high-quality education, and well-paying jobs.” This effort was made possible by a multi-sector funding collaboration consisting of non-profits, foundations, businesses and government leaders.

The collaboration of funding sources, however, does not come without challenges. With seventeen core partners, decision-making, time, and process can create tension that may hinder or delay the outcome. And so, “effective cross-sector partnerships must learn to live with, and even embrace, the constant creative tension that comes from the mix of cultures, backgrounds, and professional and personal experiences that members bring to the group.”

As a city booming in economic and community initiatives, the City of Newark may soon come across the potential discourse of expansion of public transits into additional spaces in the state’s largest city. More examples and best practices that Newark can utilizes can be found in the rest of the Stanford University based article.