Designing a Framework for Equity In City Services

As in many other American cities, demographics such as race, ethnicity, and gender identity influence San Francisco residents’ outcomes in income, education, health, justice involvement, and other key areas. To establish a baseline of the city’s efforts to address inequities, FUSE executive fellow Sami Iwata partnered with the Controller’s City Performance Group and the Mayor’s Office to conduct the first Equity Survey. This citywide inventory of equity-related programs and services also identified barriers to advancing equity and the resources needed to overcome those barriers.

By introducing design-thinking techniques and other collaborative strategies, Sami helped colleagues experiment with new approaches to build shared understanding and to help problem-solving. Sami co-managed the Government Alliance on Race and Equity cohort, where she provided technical assistance and introduced a structured peer consulting model that was widely adopted by cohort members as a new tool. Sami also facilitated citywide racial equity workshops to begin normalizing conversations around race. This integrated work is helping set the stage for a more strategic and coordinated approach to addressing disparities in the city.

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