At the heart of politics is the desire to enable positive change for individuals and communities. This can only be achieved through cooperation between leaders and individuals, working together towards solutions. In urban environments with high populations, engaging with communities and enacting change can be challenging.
This article discusses how political parties in the United States can enact change in densely populated cities such as New York. Below, we review some examples of what political parties can do to overcome these challenges and work towards positive change.
Community engagement and grassroots initiatives
Politics starts at home. This means that to drive change, political parties must make issues relevant to communities and the individuals living in them. Support for community engagement and grassroots initiatives is essential. This can include endorsing social media campaigns for change or supporting parent groups lobbying for action at their local school.
It can also involve joining movements that are relevant at the grassroots level upwards. One such movement is No Labels. This organization has a mission to support a common-sense approach to issues that affect ordinary citizens. It enables ordinary people and political leaders from both sides to work together towards solutions. By joining an organization such as No Labels, political leaders can communicate directly with the community and understand more about the issues that concern them. This, in turn, fosters an environment where real, positive change can happen.
Infrastructure initiatives and smart urban planning
By taking a long-term view of how urban areas develop through their infrastructure, political parties can support sustainable change. They may do this by championing projects that offer solutions for the real issues facing individuals and communities today, such as climate change. This may include urban green infrastructure projects such as creating green corridors or supporting recycling programs. Alternatively, political leaders may lobby for smart urban planning initiatives that use data and technology to enhance everyday activities. These examples can make long-lasting changes to the quality of life and the future of the urban environment.
Tech is already firmly embedded in our daily lives. Political parties can champion further integration of technology into day-to-day activities to help enact change for everyone. As we’ve seen above, smart urban planning is one example of tech integration. In addition, political leaders must also lobby for tech integration at the individual level. For example, supporting easy access to tech, high-speed internet and mobile hotspots can make a tangible difference in people’s lives.
Education and workforce development programs
Education and workforce initiatives can make a lasting difference in ordinary people’s lives. By supporting development programs, political leaders can sow the seeds for enduring change for the better. One example is the Pathways to an Inclusive Economy: An Action Plan for Young Adult Career Success action plan. This roadmap offers young people career advice, experience and is supported by partnerships in both the public and political sectors.
Public safety and community policing
In any urban environment, including New York, crime, safety and policing are at the forefront of citizens’ minds. Change towards greater safety and enhanced community policing must be a priority for political leaders. This can be achieved through engaging with multiple agencies, for example, those concerned with housing, mental health and substance abuse. Leaders must also work with community-based violence prevention programs and support interactions between the police and communities, strengthening ties and enhancing trust.
Affordable, accessible healthcare
Affordable, accessible healthcare for all is a goal that all political parties must aspire to. At a grassroots level, political leaders based in cities such as New York can work towards closing gaps in the system by supporting the expansion of community health clinics. They may also interact with communities and healthcare workers to get a first-hand understanding of the effects of these disparities. At a higher level, they may support reform of the insurance system through subsidies for individuals not eligible for employer insurance. By approaching health inequalities from both the bottom and top levels, real change can be enacted in the communities that need it most.
Environmental sustainability initiatives
Cities such as New York are ripe for environmental sustainability initiatives, enabling them to get fit for the future. The PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done is the latest in a series of action plans to mitigate climate change and improve the quality of life of citizens. This action plan focuses on creating change for a sustainable future for the city. Its initiatives include providing electric vehicle charging points, installing solar panels and enabling training for green jobs.
Political leaders can get involved in the creation of such plans and initiatives by joining the relevant cabinets and boards that shape them. This allows leaders to act as the voice of the people, ensuring that the necessary changes are made to enhance citizens’ lives.
Enacting positive, lasting change
Change is a process that involves many factors, including engagement and learning to identify challenges and reach solutions. Effecting change in highly populated urban areas like New York relies on political leaders gaining a first-hand understanding of the issues that are relevant to its citizens. By engaging with cross-party organizations such as No Labels, they have a direct route to understanding the peoples’ voice and enacting positive, lasting change on their behalf.