Measuring community health to build community wealth

Measuring community health to build community wealth

Sixty years ago, a U.S. community was destroyed when its vibrant main street and surrounding residences had to make way for a new interstate highway that cut across the city. Yorth was engaged to help qualify and quantify the equity that was lost in the community as a result of this decision.

In addition to understanding the cost of the properties lost, missed business revenue and tax income for the city, we expanded our lens to include missed opportunities for intergenerational wealth building. We also assessed impacts on education and college attainment, on residents’ physical and psychological health and wellbeing, and the local economy. Even while erring on the side of the most conservative estimates, it soon became clear that there was a significant amount of community and personal equity lost not only in the 1950s, but for decades to come.

Being able to put a dollar amount on equity lost helped make a powerful case for ensuring that future investments in the community would truly benefit the people who live there. Rather than spur development that would lead to displacement and gentrification, our client was equipped to advocate for a district-based approach leading to measurable outcomes that would help restore economic, environmental and social well-being in the community.

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