Redwood City has been named a finalist for the 2023 All-America City title. Presented by the National Civic League, the All-America City Award is a prestigious national award given to 10 cities annually to recognize communities that have successfully leveraged civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to address local change. This year’s theme was “Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement.” Finalists are being recognized for their work to improve the health and well-being of young people and, by extension, all residents. A primary focus was placed on communities that authentically involve and welcome youth in this work.
“It is such an honor to be recognized for our innovative work and investment in our young residents, particularly youth in underrepresented communities,” said Melissa Stevenson Diaz, City Manager of Redwood City. “Creating opportunities for children and youth to grow, learn and play in safe and healthy environments has long been a priority of the City Council.”
In its application, the City highlighted several community-driven activities:
Purposeful, Action, Creation and Engagement (PACE) – developed in partnership with Redwood City Together and the Redwood City Police Activities League (PAL), the program responds to community concerns about disruptive youth behavior in Downtown and aims to foster positive relationships between community leaders, law enforcement, and the Bike Life movement youth in Redwood City and North Fair Oaks. Learn more about PACE here.
The People’s Budget – a participatory budget initiative in which community members directly decided how to spend $1 million as part of the City’s budget. The City made extraordinary efforts to engage youth from historically marginalized communities in the development of The People’s Budget. Almost 1,800 people voted during this participatory budget process, resulting in the selection of four projects for funding. Free showers for unhoused community members, supporting housing initiatives, a peer mentorship program for drug and alcohol prevention, and El Camino Real bike lanes were selected from over 700 ideas proposed by over 500 community members. Learn more about The People’s Budget here.
Youth Inclusion and Childcare Initiatives – including inclusive play through Magical Bridge Playgrounds, childcare and preschool programs, and the annual OYE Latinx Youth Conference – an annual conference that provides a unique opportunity, especially for Latinx youth to come together and explore their identity and passions for their future, as well as learn concrete tools to realize their goals and address issues facing the community.
Anti-Displacement Strategy – serves as a policy roadmap and foundation for how the City can achieve Preservation and Protection housing goals in a citywide effort to meet our unique community housing needs for people at all income levels. Through a 2021 Community Needs Assessment Survey conducted by Stanford University’s Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities, the City learned that the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic shutdown disproportionately hurt local workers earning lower wages, parents, monolingual Spanish speakers and other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. The pandemic had a particular impact on housing security for the City’s most vulnerable populations, including low-income households with children under 18. Learn more about the Anti-Displacement Strategy here.
Finalist communities, representing 12 states, ranging in size from 4,700 residents to over 8 million. The 2023 All-America City Awards will be held from June 9 to 11 in Denver, Colorado.
For more information, visit nationalcivicleague.org/america-city-award.