The American city confronts increasingly urgent challenges of inclusion.

America’s economic and racial disparities are found in our neighborhoods, institutions, policies, and practices. Cities are theaters for the ways that class, race, and geography intersect—often to the exclusion of many of the communities that make them vibrant. While there is a growing movement to change this, there are still too few meaningful solutions to resolve existing and growing inequities in our cities.


We translate the ideas of communities and advocates into meaningful systems change.

As a firm with foundations in real estate, public policy, and economic development, our Inclusive Cities team leverages our deep understanding of government, knowledge of local and private economic forces, and commitment to analytical rigor to promote social and economic justice. By equipping our clients with the right tools, programs, and strategies, we help government, civic, and business leaders to promote more inclusive development and build more dynamic and equitable cities.


Our practice is guided by four core principles



Planning and policy are intricately connected to race, wealth, and social status. The thoughtful reexamination and restructuring of organizations, behaviors, and operations can allow public and private institutions to serve diverse constituencies better.


Inclusive community engagement leads to better, more effective policy. Stakeholders from a range of perspectives must have a seat at the table when deciding matters of economic development, investment, and change.


Cities make better decisions when they can accurately identify the impact of policies on neighborhoods, residents, businesses, and visitors. Metrics of success that define social resilience, affordability, and economic diversity are as valuable to the vitality of cities as financial indicators.


Reducing existing disparities requires a feasible and clear path forward. Cities must identify and prioritize actions to effect real change.

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HR&A helps our clients with a focus on three key areas of change


Craft new programs and policies that expand education, workforce, and other opportunities, and see them through launch.

Design plans for inclusive development at the neighborhood and citywide level, considering inclusionary zoning, affordable housing, and other strategies to advance equity.

Guide development projects to maximize community benefits while navigating local market context.

Support change management and capacity building for agencies and institutions that play a critical role in cities, including nonprofits and government.

Frame the full range of quantitative and qualitative project benefits, which can include economic and fiscal impacts and other benefits that align with local stakeholder goals.

Communicate with key political, business, and community stakeholders to gather insights that may shape project visioning and program development, and to convey the project proposal and benefits.


Designing a Leadership and Training Program for Career Coaches


To connect workers with quality jobs, Skillful works with states to develop labor markets that value skills and training over degrees or other proxies for qualifications. The team engaged HR&A to develop a program that would build the capacity of career coaches in public workforce development centers, community colleges, high schools, and career service non-profits across the state to better connect job seekers with quality career paths. Learn More →

Creating a Racial Equity Agenda for the United States Conference of Mayors


Across the country, discriminatory policies and practices have created lasting disparities in social and economic outcomes across races. To work against this harmful legacy, the United States Conference of Mayors, with its strong tradition of leadership on issues of civil rights and social justice, is using its national platform to help mayors and cities understand and implement the policies and practices that can reduce racial inequities in cities. Learn More →

Commercial and Residential Affordability Study

Milwaukee, WI

Too often, infrastructure improvements spark patterns of development and neighborhood change that inadvertently displace the very people who would benefit from those investments the most. The City of Milwaukee engaged HR&A to analyze how new development driven by a new streetcar could strengthen neighborhoods and create better connections within the city. Additionally, the City wanted to understand its options for ensuring that residential, commercial, and retail rents could remain affordable to existing residents. Learn More →

Multifamily Affordable Housing Strategy

Detroit, MI

As Detroit’s housing market recovers from decades of disinvestment, some residents are unable to find adequate and affordable housing in the city. To guide the City’s future initiatives related to affordable housing development and preservation, inclusive growth, homelessness, and housing development in priority planning areas of the city, HR&A worked closely with the City to develop a public-facing housing strategy document that expressed the City of Detroit’s housing priorities and established a formalized plan for implementation.

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Interested in creating a more equitable and inclusive city? Email us to learn more about our strategies for success.