Promoting a Community’s Economic Diversity

AN ECONOMICALLY AND SOCIALLY DIVERSE COMMUNITY stimulates creativity, vitality, promotes economic growth and is an essential component of the moral fabric of a community.

As unremitting financial pressures have adversely impacted the economic diversity of most urban communities, we must implement social experiments which have the potential to foster sustainable economically diverse urban centers.

I would suggest that urban governments consider defining some occupations as “essential to the functioning of our city.” This might include, but not be limited to, postal workers, all people who are employed by the city, as well as employees who work for businesses that receive the bulk of their revenue from the city.

IF a person:

1. Is employed full-time in a job which is “essential to the functioning of our city

2. Has state taxable income and total wealth which is, say, less than 50% of the city’s median.

3. Is the recipient of no housing subsidies or allowances

4. Agrees to physically occupy the domicile in the city for at least 11 months/year

5. Owns no real estate

THEN, that person would be given priority to rent or purchase one of the city’s designated “affordable” housing units.

As the economic benefits of creating a diverse community accrue to all members of the community, it is both rational (from a self-interest perspective) and moral to foster the creation of  an economically diverse community. As we have yet to develop a blueprint to achieve this end, we need to promote reasonable social experiments which have the potential to address this important social issue.

Alternatively, we can continue to ignore our gentrification problem and allow our communities to devolve into environments which meet the needs of the few, are increasingly economically and socially polarized, and, most importantly, politically unstable.

Hayward Zwerling


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