Our Principles
The Green New Deal Cities Hub’s guiding principles are adapted from the Boston Green New Deal and Just Recovery Plan. These principles draw on fundamental truths embedded in generational and place-based knowledge of what it means to be sustainable and promote wellbeing, but are not intended to be prescriptive. Every community’s Just Recovery plan and Green New Deal must be guided by principles determined locally and democratically. Our principles seek to embed measures of accountability for our actions and to reinvigorate the critical purpose of government: to act in the public interest. You can find these principles tagged throughout our site when resources and policies exemplify the integration of these principles in action.
GIF of People Moving
1. People-Centered
This principle is about putting people before profit, prioritizing our workers and communities, and seeking to build solidarity across diverse racial, ethnic, and class lines. Taking a people-centered approach engenders a long-term view to enhance the social sustainability of our cities and continually evaluate municipal actions through the lived experiences of residents to ensure policy solutions are truly enhancing the common good. 
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GIF of Hands Waving
2. Democratic & Participatory
Democratization means expanding access to city services and information so residents are supported and informed, and expanding participatory justice to ensure everyone has the ability to shape public discourse. This can be achieved by creating just and inclusive institutional processes, ensuring the clarity and accountability of decision-makers, breaking down departmental silos, making city data and progress indicators widely accessible, and decentralizing power. An inclusive government and accessible city services are critically important to daylighting and dismantling cycles of injustice.
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GIF of Tree Roots
3. Address Root Causes
Our current political-economic system is not working. Addressing the root causes of urban crises entails a reevaluation of our existing policies and practices, and instituting new equity frames for any decisions we make going forward. It is a commitment to reparative and transformative justice, meaning acknowledging past harms, seeking to repair the relationships we have with each other and the relationship cities have with their residents, dismantling systems that are not supporting us, and replacing them with ones that are emancipatory.
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GIF of Government Building
4. Rights-Based
Cities should be centering the right to a healthy and dignified life. This includes the right to equal pay, food, housing, education and medical care. In return for the payment of taxes and abiding by local laws, it is the duty of local governments to protect residents' rights and ensure a sustainable collective future. This is the “deal” aspect of a Green New Deal – a commitment to upholding the social contract between a government and its citizens.
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GIF of Society and Nature Decommodification
5. Decommodify Society and Nature
In cities today, much of our public housing, public transit systems, urban spaces, utilities, and even some social services are commodities. By treating public services this way, the private property rights of large corporations often supersede fundamental human rights. Decommodification creates better access to affordable solutions by mitigating market pressures. It also enhances community capabilities and wealth by prioritizing publicly-owned and local options.
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GIF of Networks Moving
6. Social and Ecological Resilience
Our cities need to rapidly decarbonize in order to reach long-term goals of social and ecological resilience. Climate impacts like sea level rise and extreme heat expose and deepen underlying urban problems, especially for residents who have long been neglected by our cities. Creating social and ecological resilience is an investment in a regenerative and sustainable urban ecosystem, drawing on nature-inspired solutions to meet everyone’s needs while operating within ecological boundaries.
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GIF of Justice Scales
7. Justice Oriented
Justice is often used interchangeably with words like equity, but it means much more and requires deeper action. Justice means understanding that past wrongs and the structures that supported those wrongs must be corrected in order to truly transform our cities and emancipate our neighborhoods from structural violence. Justice is about achieving equitable power sharing, restructuring institutions where necessary, and creating a city that consciously supports us all. Justice is participatory, reparative, and transformative.
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The next step is to look at the Action Areas!
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