Equitable Development: Planning to Overcome Injustice

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You'll learn about:

  • How sustainability, at its best, responds to the needs of all citizens, especially those who are underserved, under-resourced, and overburdened 

  • How communities are making structural changes to create alignment with their documented goals for equitable development—and which tools and strategies they are using 

  • Why the quality of life goals and being socially responsible are not mutually exclusive.       

Equitable development isn’t a new concept. It has, in fact, been the recurring theme in planning practice for nearly 50 years. Today, researchers and advocates, stewards of the built environment, and proponents for sustainability are coming to realize that finding creative ways to encourage equitable development does not shift attention from making communities better. Instead, it results in better community outcomes, especially for underserved populations and vulnerable groups. 

Explore the groundswell of activity that is compelling communities to ensure everyone has a safe and healthy environment in which to live, work, and play. Learn about tools, strategies, and best practices you can use to navigate obstacles to implementation. And hear about award-winning projects that demonstrate how equitable development is reshaping America’s communities for the better.     

About the Speakers

Nora Liu
Nora Liu is the project manager for Racial Equity Here, a joint project of Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE)/CSI and Living Cities, that supports a new cohort of cities to proactively advance racial equity. Nora brings over twenty years of experience working with communities to improve racial and social equity. For ten years immediately prior to joining GARE/CSI, she worked to serve Seattle’s communities of color through her positions within the City of Seattle. Most recently she was the Community Development Manager for Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) where her work created policy, tools, and practices to leverage public and private investments to meet community goals and to support the ability of historically marginalized communities to shape their own futures. Nora was one of the major authors of Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI)—which works towards a Seattle which is diverse and where all people can achieve their full potential regardless of race or means. Its components include: Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan with race and social equity as a core value; an Equity Analysis to inform the City’s Growth Strategy; the Equitable Development Implementation Plan, a roadmap to systemic change; and community based Race and Social Equity Leadership. The EDI is a joint effort of OPCD and the Office for Civil Rights / Race and Social Justice Initiative.

Brentin Mock
Brentin Mock is a staff writer for The Atlantic’s Citylab.com. His writing and reporting focuses on the intersections between enviromental policy, civil rights, voting rights, criminal justice and other justice-related issues. Prior to Citylab, he served as the Justice Editor for the environmental news blog Grist.org and as a national correspondant for Colorlines.com.

Harold Mitchell
State Representative Harold Mitchell, Jr. represents the 31st District in Spartanburg County in the South Carolina Legislature. Representative Mitchell is a well-respected community advocate who spends much of his time serving his community and advocating for social change. He is a member of the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce, the Chairman of Spartanburg Housing Development and the Executive Director of ReGenesis, a community-based non-profit organization that was formed in 1998 to address environmental health issues focused on environmental justice. Representative Mitchell has a proven history of bringing federal, state and local stakeholders together and creating partnerships for change. Led by Representative Mitchell, The ReGenesis project combines the redevelopment of the Arkwright- Forest Park areas of Spartanburg and the cleanup of two waste sites and several brownfield sites. The project is focused on the redevelopment, revitalization and reuse of a 500-acre area in Spartanburg. Under Harold’s leadership, the ReGenesis Partnership has leveraged more than $270 million from private and public sector sources for community revitalization initiatives. In 2015, State Representative Mitchell received the National Planning Excellence Award for Advancing Diversity and Social Change (in Honor of Paul Davidoff).

Carlton Eley
Carlton Eley is an environmentalist, urban planner, lecturer, and blogger. He has eighteen years experience advancing projects targeting environmental justice and sustainable urban policy, and he is U.S. EPA’s leading expert on the topic of equitable development. Carlton regularly organizes continuing education content for audiences around the country, and he has published multiple articles as well as blogs on the topic of equitable development. Carlton nominated South Carolina State Representative Harold Mitchell, Jr. and the ReGenesis Project for the 2015 National Planning Excellence Award for Advancing Diversity and Social Change (in Honor of Paul Davidoff). Carlton has served on community advisory service teams for Pamlico County, North Carolina; Princeville, North Carolina; Gary, Indiana; Birmingham, Alabama; and the Vecht River Valley in the Netherlands. Carlton’s work has been commended by the Ford Foundation, the National Charrette Institute, and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His technical assistance work and public engagement efforts have earned citations from the American Planning Association and the National Organization of Minority Architects. He has a B.A. in Sociology/Social Work Curriculum from Elizabeth City State University and a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa.