2018 National Planning Conference

The Language of Equity

Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 2:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. CDT

Location: 210

CM | 2.25

Cost: Included in Registration

Activity Type: Deep Dive Sessions

Activity ID: NPC189012


  • How to define the role you can play in communicating the need for social equity
  • How to identify key words and phrases that can help you advance conversations on social equity .
  • Eight key findings of the "Language of Equity" project and how to incorporate them into your policy and advocacy efforts


Words matter, especially when talking about equity. Say the wrong thing — and people check out, or worse, become enraged. Say the right thing – and people are engaged, and at best, work for progress. Constructive conversations about equity are the starting point for policy changes to create more equitable communities, and planners have an important role to play in starting those conversations. The Michigan Association of Planning’s "Language of Equity" project sought to identify the words and phrases planners might use to build support for equity. The report authors reviewed literature from the mind sciences (neuroscience and social psychology) and planning literature on equity-oriented policies and their rationales. The literature review informed the development of language tested in key-pad polling with Michigan equity advocates as well planning professionals and elected and appointed officials from across the political spectrum. This session will focus on the key findings of the "Language of Equity" project and leave planners with eight lessons on how to talk about equity. Applying these lessons can be a major step in helping to integrate fairness and social inclusion into local, regional, and state policies.

Session Speakers

Matthew Freeman
TMI Consulting Inc.
Richmond, VA

David Campt
DWC Group

Ebony Walden
Ebony Walden Consulting
Richmond, VA

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