I would improve Richmond in several ways because this city does not live up to its potential. By honestly addressing racism, as well as public school teachers' and parents' attitudes towards children, our town could make significant progress.
First, we must deal with white racism. I realized this when I helped a neighbor kid bring his dog to the vet. Steven was black, and only nine years old, and I am white. When we walked across the parking lot of the vet's office, a white man and his young son stared at us. The father grabbed his child by the arm and the two of them seemed to look at us in disgust. I felt that they were stereotyping a kid whose life was just starting out without knowing anything about him. To solve this problem, people of different backgrounds need to get to know each other in order to break down prejudices. A more economically and racially integrated community would help to achieve this.
Second, teachers' attitudes towards kids in the City school system must improve. I have seen teachers tell middle schoolers they're stupid, and offer high schoolers coloring handouts instead of real work. Teachers with this kind of approach should be warned, then fired if they don't shape-up. Then, they can be replaced with better paid, more skilled teachers with better attitudes. This will help to turn out students who have better outlooks themselves, and who are more likely to succeed.
Lastly, parents need an attitude check too. If kids are ever to fix the mess we've made, parents can't keep threatening them with physical violence as a solution. Children who learn that only reason not to break the rules is because they'll be beaten don't necessarily understand the underlying reasons for controlling their behavior. My wife went to get a flu shot the other day, and she heard a mom say to her 2 year old kid, "If you don't shut up, I'll have them stick you with that needle!" Parents need to respect their kids and do better parenting by reading up on child development, and talking to each other about their concerns. Then, we'll raise a new generation of Richmonders with more positive views than many of the adults causing problems.
So to sum up, I would improve Richmond in three ways: deal with racism by helping people to get to know each other, hire better teachers to replace the negative ones, and encourage parents to stop using threats and start using respect as a way to raise children. I believe those points would go a long way towards fixing our problems.