The past few decades have witnessed a notable surge in economic growth, but one which has been accompanied by an equally daunting degree of inequity under various forms, with wider income gaps and deepening poverty in many cities across the world. In the 1970s, widening income gaps began an unhealthy co-existence with economic growth, with reduced incomes for households in the middle and lower classes and steady increases for the well-off. Economic inequality is seriously detrimental to the equitable distribution among individuals of opportunities to pursue a life of their choosing and be spared from extreme deprivation in outcomes.

Equity has a significant impact on economic performance, since the greater the degree of equity, the greater the chances of a fuller, more efficient use of available resources, including skills and creative talent. 1 urban prosperity thrives on equity, which involves reduction in barriers to individual/collective potential, expansion of opportunities, and strengthening of human agency 2 and civic engagement.