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Co-Governance Case Studies from 3 Major Cities

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

It's amazing what can happen when racial equity work is community-centered. Co-governance is best defined in action.

CUE believes in the power of the collective. By centering those most impacted by public policy, we can create civic structures that benefit us all. Our work requires the political will to reimagine leadership and practice new decision-making processes. This kind of collaborative governance, or “co-governance”, is a topic best defined in action. Here are three case studies from major U.S. cities bridging the gap between government and community.


Chicago Digital Equity Council

The gap in digital resources, such as quality Internet, computers, and learning tools, creates growing disadvantages for families who are low-income and experience language barriers in my community.” —Karin Aguilar, Community Leader on the Digital Equity Council Guiding Team

The Chicago Digital Equity Council, first launched in May 2022, brought nearly 400 residents together across Chicago’s least digitally connected neighborhoods to discuss the digital divide, identify work already in progress, and co-create recommendations for the Chicago Digital Equity Plan. Learn more.

This case study was brought to you by the Office for Equity and Racial Justice. OERJ seeks to advance institutional change that results in an equitable transformation of how we do business across the City of Chicago enterprise.

San Francisco

Worker Powered Co-Enforcement in the Bay Area

Because of us building power, person to person, learning how to develop leadership to help people take collective action and take on bigger fights, we’ve shifted the norms in Chinatown.—Alex Tom, former CPA Executive Director

The Chinese Progressive Association builds power for the historically exploited, predominantly immigrant low-wage workforce through a “co-enforcement” strategy, bringing public agencies, work centers and community organizations together to monitor and enforce labor standards. Learn more.

This case study was brought to you by Partners for Dignity and Rights. PDR works to build a broad movement for economic and social rights, including health, housing, education and work with dignity.


Equitable Development Initiative

“Displacement pressures are real…these projects will help ensure that our many cultural communities will always have a home here in Seattle.” — Rico Quirindongo, OPCD Acting Director

With Seattle’s rapid growth comes burdens that fall on historically marginalized communities. To combat displacement, the Office of Planning & Community Development launched an Equitable Development Initiative to fund community-led anti-displacement strategies from affordable housing and elder care, to local art and libraries. Learn more.

This case study was brought to you by Local Progress. LP is a network of elected leaders who build power with underrepresented communities and fight to reshape what is possible in our localities all across the country.

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