Policy Guide in Development: Social Equity and Inclusive Growth

The topic of planning for equity is one that is multi-faceted and of growing concern throughout the field of planning. At the recommendation of its Diversity Committee, in 2016 APA launched an effort through its Legislative and Policy Committee to develop a policy guide on the topic. In late 2017, in recognition of the need to represent the full breadth of membership, a broader team of APA members formed to move the guide forward.

The goal is to have the Planning for Equity Policy Guide approved at the National Planning Conference in April 2019.

Meet the Team Behind the Guide

The expanded committee is co-chaired by Susan A. Wood, AICP, and Lynn M. Ross, AICP, and includes a team of 27 other planners from across the country. These APA members, who are volunteering their time and expertise to this process, represent a diversity of APA Chapters, Interest Groups, and Divisions in addition to APA's Diversity and Legislative and Policy Committees.

Policy Guide Approach

The committee’s approach to the policy guide is based on two simple, yet bold ideas:

  1. Planning for equity is not an extra for planners; it should be practiced as a core skill.
  2. Equity should be at the core of all planning policies.

An Equity-Focused Conference

Equity Spotlighted at NPC18

Equity and inclusive growth issues were top of mind for planners who attended NPC18 in New Orleans. Take a look at the plenaries, moments, and sessions that moved us to action.

The policy guide will explore these ideas in a number of ways including:

  • A candid discussion on the past role of planning and planners in creating inequities
  • The power of the field to both rectify past practices while also ensuring that new practices will not create future inequities
  • An examination of cross-cutting topics such as gentrification and displacement, environmental justice, and community engagement and empowerment
  • A survey of specific policies in action to consider when planning for equity

The committee is working to help all planners embrace their ethical responsibility to plan for equity by arming the field with specific policy considerations and practices. As part of the process, the committee welcomes engagement from the broader APA membership. Specifically, the committee is interested in (1) understanding the key challenges planners are facing in developing and furthering equitable communities and (2) learning about any specific equitable policies or practices planners view as impactful.

APA members can share responses to these inquiries and sign up to receive updates about the Planning for Equity Policy Guide by sending email to policyguide@planning.org.