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CPI in the news Article August 25th, 2020
Cities • Justice • Innovation

US News & World Report: The case for failure: to tackle inequality, cities must embrace their missteps

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Elysa Neumann, Centre for Public Impact

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US News & World Report: The Case for Failure: To Tackle Inequality, Cities Must Embrace Their Missteps

Jennifer Bradley & Andi Mirviss: To successfully combat the inequality laid bare by the pandemic, city governments must create a culture of ‘failing forward.'

Originally published in U.S. News & World Report.

IN RESPONDING TO COVID-19, city and local governments are innovating at an unthinkable pace. They have demonstrated their dexterous decision-making capabilities, their capacity to build greater public trust and cross-departmental work to craft and enforce policies that keep residents safe. Having weathered six months of unprecedented crisis management and catastrophe control, municipal public servants should pause to reflect for a moment and take pride in their incredible work.

However, just as local governments all across the country have proven their abilities to rise to this historic occasion, the unequal impacts of the pandemic and the protests over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have also illuminated local government's broader failures and shortfalls. The unequal impacts of this pandemic and police brutality are all too clear: Five times as many Black, Latinx and indigenous Americans are hospitalized due to COVID-19 as white Americans. Black and Latinx people are nearly twice as likely to die from the coronavirus as are white people. Police brutality against Black Americans has been at the forefront of the agendas for municipal reform since the 1965 Watts riots and, yet, despite mainstream publicity and steadily increasing public outrage, it remains as pernicious as ever.


In light of this watershed moment for local government, there is an unprecedented opportunity to rethink learning from failure. Local government has never been more visible to constituents: Just look at the massive influx of residents calling into city council meetings and attending virtual town halls. How governments move forward from here will set a tone for future generations' faith in government. We hope - and believe - that they will fail forward.

Read the complete piece on US News & World Report and the Fail Forward research here.


About the Centre for Public Impact

The Centre for Public Impact is a not-for-profit founded by Boston Consulting Group. Believing that governments can and want to do better for people, we work side-by-side with governments—and all those who help them—to reimagine government, and turn ideas into action, to bring about better outcomes for everyone. We champion public servants and other changemakers who are leading this charge and develop the tools and resources they need, like our Public Impact Fundamentals, so we can build the future of government together.

About the Aspen Institute Center for Urban Innovation

The Aspen Institute Center for Urban Innovation (CUI) is a network hub that catalyzes and supports a broader movement to define values-led approaches to developing, piloting, regulating, and evaluating urban technologies.  We connect city leaders, non-profit organizations, and emerging businesses who share the belief that people deserve more than “smart cities.”  We deserve cities that promote human flourishing and digital infrastructure that enhances the experiences and opportunities that city life affords for all residents, particularly those in underserved neighborhoods.

Written by:

Andrea Mirviss Program Manager, North America
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