News from the Top: Inclusivity, Equity and our Role as City Builders

August 21, 2019

Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership serves as Chair of the International Downtown Association’s (IDA) Board of Directors. Tami offers her expertise in city building to members of IDA in her monthly News from the Top column.

As city builders, making our urban centers more equitable and inclusive can be as complex at it is critically important. Earlier this month, the Downtown Denver Partnership invited an expert in the equity and inclusivity space to speak at our Annual Meeting. Tamika – who serves as Toole Design Group’s Director of Equity and Inclusion – brought her robust knowledge and sharp perspectives, helping our team and our community-at-large to understand how we can make meaningful strides in making our city more inclusive.

Tamika was inspiring and real, reminding us of the importance of this work and challenging us to push the envelope. Here are a few key takeaways that Tamika left with us that I hope you can use to navigate your own work:

  • “Equity is not a one-size-fits-all issue.” Our respective cities and districts are unique ecosystems and as such, our approaches to inclusivity and equity will be unique.
  • “When you start to do equity work, you may not completely understand it. You have to act the part and work to understand as you go.” We need to be dedicated to bringing more voices to the table helps inform us on the current climate and navigate where we need to go next. Be proactive and aim to learn as much as possible and from new and different perspectives.
  • “We don’t need people to be just allies. We need accomplices.” Like many aspects of our work to make our cities thrive, we need to be bold in our actions to make our cities more inclusive. As leaders in our communities, it’s up to us to take action and empower others to follow suit.

A quote I point back to often is one from the great Jane Jacobs: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” The more we, as city builders, can do to build our cities to be equitable and inclusive for everyone, the stronger our cities become.