Assumptions that inform the design of the Just Growth Circle:
Equity is key to good decision making. We are grateful for PSE’s long experience and skill set in grounding conversations about health, transportation, energy, and economic opportunity in an equity framework.
Scaling up sustainable infrastructure takes everyone. Our process includes participants from community-based groups, clean energy and water advocates, local universities, city leaders, and health experts, grappling with hard questions and sharing information and support.
Systems tools can help people see a big picture and get big results. Our process relies both on simple systems thinking tools and more rigorous computer simulations to support strategic conversations and learning, all in service of the scaling up of equitable, sustainable solutions.
Lasting change is built on a foundation of shared values and emerges from a group of diverse leaders. The process we are developing is being shaped by the participants’ needs, visions, and strategic thinking.
Shared values of the Just Growth Circle:
We believe equitable infrastructure development should…
Protect Against Displacement: Property values will increase with installation of community amenities and sustainable infrastructure; managing that increase for vulnerable populations must be considered.
Benefit Marginalized Communities: We must ensure that infrastructure develops in ways that benefit local and surrounding communities that have felt the cost of poor infrastructure investments in the past.
Be Community Driven: We must ensure transparency and meaningful community participation, leadership, and ownership in change efforts.
Be Community Empowering: Community empowerment, improved quality of life, and community wellness should be the ultimate outcomes of infrastructure projects.
Ways of working in the Just Growth Circle:
Project Clinics: Members of the JGC have the opportunity to share their current work, focusing on the challenges and opportunities of putting the JGC shared values into practice. Recent clinic topics include: efforts to incorporate equity into a watershed restoration project, lessons from a watershed learning network for residents, ideas to improve a leadership program related to equitable development, and lessons from the planning process for a park that invested heavily to have resident involvement in the design and implementation of the project.
Field Trips: Visiting the sites of potential development projects to see first-hand what opportunities and challenges the development projects pose for equitable development
Small Grants: Supporting JGC member organizations from frontline communities in their missions around citizen empowerment, and bringing the lessons from the projects back to the full group.
Systems Mapping: Building shared understanding of the complex forces that influence the work of JGC members, including joint analysis of the drivers of gentrification and displacement, and exploration of the key decision points that can be influenced along the development process from planning to permitting to construction.
Collaborative Projects: Members of the Circle often find themselves working together on projects that are informed by the learnings of the Circle but not formally housed within the Circle
Explorations of what it means to apply the shared values of the circle in work and life: Most circle meetings begin with a session where participants share insights, struggles and questions related to leaving and working out of the values of the Just Growth Circle. The topics shift from month to month but might include: What does it look like to confront racism? How might more people be invited into an upcoming decision? What does it really take to design an equitable procurement system?
Multisolving in the Just Growth Circle- FLOWER:
Multi-solving responds to multiple problems through one single intervention. It helps protect the environment while also providing other co-benefits, and can contribute to equity if implemented carefully.
Climate Interactive’s Framework for Long-term, Whole-system, Equity based Reflection (FLOWER), provides a visual framework for multi-solving. It diagrams six common types of co-benefits of actions to protect the climate. JGC adopts this framework to remind its participants to be multisolvers and to ensure that the six types of benefits are equally distributed among all communities to promote climate justice and equity.
For instance, Green Infrastructure offers co-benefits such as workforce and economic development, producing jobs ranging from park maintenance to stormwater management to business ownership. These benefits can also contribute to equity under policies that ensure local and inclusive hiring.
Using the shared values and multi-solving, the Just Growth Circle pushes for policies that ensure local and equitable hire to benefit the community.
Video – The Dynamics of Displacement:
The Just Growth Circle worked together during 2017 to explore the dynamics of community investment and displacement. Some insights from that process are recorded in this video.