Why Here and Why Now?

Where Need Meets Opportunity


Dallas-Fort Worth ranks high, and in several recent studies at the top of the list, of non-inclusive urban economies. As the fourth largest economy in the nation, Dallas-Fort Worth is home to approximately 22 Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, 300 large company headquarters, and a strong presence from both U.S. and international transnational corporations. At the same time, this tremendous economic influence is juxtaposed with poverty, inequality and significant environmental challenges.

Despite its prosperity, Dallas has the highest inequality and 2nd highest child poverty among major U.S. cities, along with rising working poverty. According to the Communities Foundation, Dallas County’s real median household income decreased by 16% between 1999 and 2015, compared to a 2% decline in Texas and 2.4% in the US as a whole. Poverty has increased by 42% during the past 15 years, according to the recent Resilient Dallas study, with racial and ethnic minorities and women being disproportionately affected. An increasing number of Dallas residents live in food deserts, which are often also infrastructure and transit deserts, with limited or no access to basic products and services.

Dallas also has one of the most rapidly growing urban heat islands in America. 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, but especially those with the least means to mitigate these risks. Therefore a paradigm shift toward inclusive sustainable economic development is imperative.

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The IEC's scholar-practitioners presented this research at the 2018 International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR) conference at The World Bank. Find out what attendees learned about unlocking the potential for inclusive economic development.