Innovation districts and anchor institutions—like hospitals, universities, and technology hubs—are celebrated for their ability to drive economic growth and employment opportunities. But the benefits often fail to reach the very neighborhoods they are built in. As CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Matt Enstice took a different approach. Under Matt’s leadership, BNMC has supported entrepreneurship training programs and mentorship for community members, creation of a community garden, bringing together diverse groups to explore transportation solutions, and more. Fostering participation and collaboration among neighborhood leaders, foundations, and other organizations ensures that the interests of Buffalo residents are represented. Together, these groups are creating a new model for re-energizing Buffalo—a model that has applications across the United States and around the world.
City Forward explains how BNMC works to promote a shared goal of equity among companies and institutions with often opposing motivations and intentions. When money or time is scarce, how can equitable community building remain a common priority? When interests conflict, and an institution’s expansion depends upon parking or development that would infringe upon public space, how can the decision-making process maintain trust and collaboration? Offering a candid look at BNMC’s setbacks and successes, along with efforts from other institutions nationwide, Enstice shares twelve strategies that innovation districts can harness to weave equity into their core work. From actively creating opportunities to listen to the community, to navigating compromise, to recruiting new partners, the book reveals unique opportunities available to create decisive, large-scale change. Critically, Enstice also offers insight about how innovation districts can speak about equity in an inclusive manner and keep underrepresented and historically excluded voices at the decision-making table.
Accessible, engaging, and packed with fresh ideas applicable to any city, this book is an invaluable resource. Institutional leadership, business owners, and professionals hoping to make equitable change within their companies and organizations will find experienced direction here. City Forward is a refreshing look at the brighter, more equitable futures that we can create through thoughtful and strategic collaboration—moving forward, together.