KCMO recognized for work to build equity and increase resident engagement
Kansas City is the City of Fountains in the heart of the nation, but now the City can add another title — an All-America City! The National Civic League named Kansas City an All-America City award winner this week after the City presented three projects that build equity and resilience and create stronger connections among residents, businesses, and nonprofit and city leaders.
City leaders highlighted the equitable outreach efforts in three city projects:
- The KC Spirit Playbook– the city’s comprehensive plan update- is approaching community engagement with an equity lens in a way never seen before in Kansas City. With community engagement scheduled to start just as the pandemic hit last year, staff quickly pivoted to a high level of virtual engagement. Now, the team is working to meet people where they are all across the city while striving to make the Playbook the manifestation of greater individual empowerment rather than systemic power.
- The KC Streetcar delivers equity every day, on every ride, because it is free to ride and offers level boarding. The free fares also led to another big transportation change in Kansas City. With leadership from Mayor Lucas, our bus system has also eliminated fares, improving equity for public transportation in all neighborhoods across the city.
- The Life X Program aims to close the life expectancy gap between white and more diverse neighborhoods in Kansas City. There is a 17-year difference in life expectancy in neighborhoods that are just ten minutes apart, but on opposite sides of a historic racial dividing line. KC Parks created the Quality of Life Investment District that focuses on improving parks facilities in the Life X zip codes. While our Health and Parks departments lead the project, other city departments are collaborating to ensure that their programs help increase life expectancy.
“We are honored the National Civic League recognized our efforts to pursue important city initiatives and projects with equity at the forefront,” said City Manager Brian Platt. “The three projects we shared are just part of our efforts to increase equity across all neighborhoods in Kansas City.”
Kansas City was one of 10 All-America City award winners. Since 1949, the National Civic League has recognized and celebrated the best in American civic innovation with the prestigious All-America City Award.