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New York City’s Bill de Blasio leads drive by US mayors to stamp out inequality



The mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio is leading a coalition of US mayors advocating for greater social and economic equality in cities across the country.

In an emailed statement, De Blasio argued for greater social change, saying, “We are living in a time of rising inequality and declining opportunity.

“This is a threat to our fundamental values and an obstacle to the nation’s economic growth.”

De Blasio, who took over from Michael Bloomberg six months ago, promised socially progressive reforms in the US’s largest city when he assumed office – and is now enlisting other mayors to help promote his equality agenda.

At the US Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting in Dallas which started on Friday, De Blasio announced the task force’s intentions to “leverage the power of municipal governments to advance a national, common equality agenda”. 

De Blasio was also joined by Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, president of the cities group, who said, “The purpose of cities is to lift up residents and build a community and economy that works for everyone.

“That means having a higher minimum wage, expanding the supply of affordable housing and ensuring every child has access to pre-k (pre-kindergarten childcare).”

The acceptance of responsibility by city leaders like mayors highlights a growing trend of empowering local government over national – in tackling issues of sustainability and equality.

Their direct link to constituents and the opportunity to reform with the future in mind, and not the next election, allows for increasingly sustainable developments that promote tangible change. 

In June, Singapore welcomed 20,000 city and national delegates from around the world to discuss urban sustainability. An estimated 40 ministers and 130 mayors attended the event – with the largest exhibition on integrated sustainable solutions taking place.

Meanwhile in 2013, over 50 mayors from 30 countries pledged to scale up their efforts to tackle climate change as more reports emphasise the “unequivocal” evidence of its potential damage.

The task force will last for one year, with De Blasio as chairman, and will develop and share governing purposes that make equality a central principle.

Photo source: Bill de Blasio via wikimedia common


Further reading:

Politicians have failed us on sustainability. It’s time for our mayors to step up

Mayors pledge to fight climate change as cities ‘are on the frontlines’

Sustainability could hold the key to 2015 general election result

World Cities Summit: Singapore welcomes 20,000 delegates to talk sustainability

Developing cities should follow example of Singapore, says report