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How to make sustainable cities work for everyone

December 12, 2014

It's easy to cheer sustainability for LEED-certified high rises and rooftop solar in high-income neighborhoods, but what about the people who live in underserved parts of a city?

Antwi Akom — co-founder of the Institute for Sustainability, Economic Educational and Environmental Design — took to the VERGE main stage to address that very problem. By using data supplied by residents, he said, cities can plan services and development that serve low-income communities that are too often overlooked.

"The single greatest determinant of [a child's] life chances, of their life span, of their command over resources, is the ZIP code they grow up in," Akom said.

"This is a crisis. This is a moral crisis because nobody should be able to tell you ... how well you're going to do in school, whether you're going to succeed, whether you're going to fail, whether you're going to be healthy, whether you're going to be sick, based on the ZIP code you're born into or that you live in."