Basic Income in Cities: A Guide to City Experiments and Pilot Projects

UBI mural in Stockton, Calif.
UBI mural in Stockton, Calif.

Cities are uniquely positioned to lead the country forward through innovation and ferocious experimentation. As we near the 2020s, it is apparent that the nation will need a social welfare system built for this new century and its specific challenges. One proposal governments are increasingly exploring is a policy now widely known as “universal basic income,” or UBI. The proposal represents a scalable solution that can help us reimagine and improve our social safety net, while encouraging us to reflect on the deeply changing nature of work.

A range of policy interventions will be needed to tackle these challenges and usher in a future without dramatic labor displacement, unemployment and precarious work. We should not entertain the fantasy that a single policy will tackle all of the above-mentioned challenges. Nonetheless, there is growing evidence that UBI may be uniquely placed to address some of them. This policy guide is intended to extend the conversation surrounding the role that cities can play in increasing equity through local experimentation.

Also take a look at our chart, designed in partnership with the Stanford Basic Income Lab, which highlights which places are already piloting UBI.



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