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Murals Support Cities as Elevators to Economic Mobility

“We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us” Winston Churchill noted about eighty years ago. At Beautify, we help make our cities more vibrant and therethrough more inviting to all people.

In a recent LA Times op ed, Atta Tarki and Edward Glaeser make the case that LA’s housing policy has reduced economic mobility. Tarki and Glaeser point out that: “Los Angeles’ sky-high housing prices and limited supply growth now pose an extreme burden on all but the richest urbanites. According to some estimates, L.A. is the second-least affordable housing market in the country. An average salary earner in Los Angeles needs to spend 83% of their income on mortgage and taxes to afford an average home.”

Why does this matter? Because where someone grows up significantly impacts their chances of income mobility. Tarki and Glaeser summarize: “In collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau, Chetty and his team launched the Opportunity Atlas, which shows that a child who grew up in a low-income household in Los Angeles’ affluent Brentwood neighborhood earns on average nearly four times more at age 35 than someone who grew up in lower-income central L.A. More homes in affluent areas would give more children a better chance to succeed.”

We have the power to shape our cities to make them more conducive to income mobility – and we should. We can do that by making them more inviting for all through colorful murals and also through housing policy.

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