And Why Now?
Situated in the heart of Dallas, SMU’s Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity is a hub for social innovation. As the fourth largest economy in the nation and the tenth largest gross metropolitan product in the world, Dallas-Forth Worth is home to approximately 21 Fortune 500 corporate headquarters including ExxonMobil, American Airlines, Toyota, AT&T, Kimberly-Clark, and Texas Instruments; 300 large company headquarters; and a strong presence from foreign multinationals including Schneider Electric and Fluor; and as well as American multinationals such as Pepsico.
At the same time, this tremendous corporate presence is juxtaposed with poverty, inequality, and significant environmental challenges. Despite its prosperity, Dallas has the highest inequality and child poverty among major U.S. cities. Dallas also has one of the most rapidly growing urban heat islands in America, which disproportionately harms residents of disadvantaged communities. The effects of increasing urban heat and climate change on public health, human productivity, agriculture, energy, water, and transportation infrastructure will exacerbate the challenges and impact residents at all socioeconomic levels.
Simply put, D/FW’s economy is prospering, but not inclusively. Is there a way to connect all to opportunities to share prosperity through economic activity while being mindful of the complex interactions between the economy, our society, and the environment? That is the aspiration of the Inclusive Economy Consortium. By applying a leading international development paradigm to a sizable metropolitan area and leveraging the region’s tremendous business acumen – along with expertise from civil society, government, and academia – we are using the power of collective action to achieve positive social impact.