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    Planning For Equity

    As planners, we are familiar with the notorious legacy of various planning practices or initiatives such as urban renewal’s disproportionately negative impact on minority populations, or more recently, the foreclosure crisis’ disparate impact on elderly, low-income, and minority populations.

    Carolina Planning Journal
    Planning For Equity (Volume 38 - 2013)

    carplan13pg.jpgWe frequently learn and examine retrospectively the ways in which planning contributed to negative outcomes for certain disenfranchised groups.  However, there are many opportunities for us to think critically about the ways in which our practices benefit or hurt others, and to plan proactively for places that are inclusive and create opportunity for all residents.

    The topic of planning for equity is currently more salient than ever.   The recent economic downturn raises concerns about widening disparities in opportunity and wealth.  In this challenging atmosphere of diminished resources, the planning field must consider innovative ideas and practices to provide equitable outcomes and the equitable delivery of services to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

    In soliciting articles for the journal this year, we were asked the question of how we define “equity”.  Rather than seek to define equity in one concrete way, we sought to embrace the diverse angles from which you could approach its definition and application.  Issues surrounding equity span across every aspect of planning, including housing, transportation, food access, health, economic development, and neighborhood stabilization.

    Editors: Ashley Williams and Bill King

    The 2013 issue of Carolina Planning is available for purchase.

    VIEWPOINTS ON PLANNING FOR EQUITYKrumholz, Norm; Clavel, PierreTwo expert planners offer their viewpoints on how planners can use their role and influence in “speaking truth to power” and providing equitable outcomes for communities.
    A STUDY OF INNOVATIVE INTEGRATION STRATEGIESSteephen, Anisha; Gill, Hannah; Nguyen, MaiWhile local governments are making efforts to create more inclusive social policies, little is known about what these policies are and how they are developed. To better understand municipal immigrant integration practices, my Master’s Thesis, Building Integrated Communities: Innovative Bureaucratic Incorporation Strategies for North Carolina, completed in May 2012 examined integration using two methods: 1) analyzing strategies local jurisdictions employ across the country to integrate immigrants and 2) presenting a case study to better understand the contextual, structural, and institutional factors of a two-year strategic planning process to develop an immigrant integration plan in three local jurisdictions in North Carolina, a new immigrant destination. From this analysis, I gleaned practical recommendations for other local governments interested in developing similar immigrant integration initiatives that will be discussed in this article.
    THE POLITICS OF CITY BUILDING: PRO-GROWTH PLANNING REGIMES AND EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF INFRASTRUCTURE Brock, Tim; Crick, JeffNeoliberal governance and pro-growth planning regimes divide the urban form into small patches of private development.  This results in a fragmentation of infrastructure and an increase in sociospatial inequalities.  City planners and policymakers evaluate the value of urban infrastructure projects based on economic development potential, including anticipated economic revenues and return on investment.  Because of this, infrastructure and service distribution becomes clustered in commercial districts, which have the greatest potential for economic growth.  Drawing on the concepts of ‘exchange value’ and ‘use value’, the authors critique the conventional economic evaluation criteria for infrastructure and services projects.  Exploring the role of city planners in the context of neoliberal governance, this article highlights the infrastructural inequity that results from growth-oriented planning.  The authors present transit oriented development as an example of pro-growth planning and suggest new planning obligations and evaluation processes that incorporate the everyday uses of public infrastructure projects.
    COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND THE LOW INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT PROGRAMJulian, ElizabethThe Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program is the latest federal low income housing production program to be challenged by civil rights advocates for perpetuation of racial segregation by failing to expand housing opportunity outside of low income, distressed, minority concentrated areas.  The LIHTC statute encourages the use of this low income housing resource in low income areas, at least where the investment would contribute to community revitalization according to a concerted plan.  The paper presents original calculations based on existing data as applied to measures of community opportunity and distress utilized by two federal agencies which raise questions about the efficacy of LIHTC investment as a revitalizing tool in highly distressed census tracts, even if approved as part of a concerted community revitalization plan. The paper argues for national standards and guidance for state agencies which insure that the benefits of revitalization are indeed afforded to the residents of distressed communities, who will otherwise continue to suffer the dual harms of racial segregation: separate and unequal.
    PLANNING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE IN CALIFORNIA: SOME OBSERVATIONSBarrett, CarolThe American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Code of Ethics includes an aspirational responsibility for planners to seek social justice.  However, the Code is silent on how this work is to be done.  In many communities, planners are enjoined from pursuing equity objectives. In other places, the social component of community planning is being addressed in a meaningful way.  This article explores how several California entities are responding to this challenge to the planning profession.  These approaches can be models for others seeking to embrace a more socially just model for community planning.
    CASE STUDIES FROM NCAPA CONTRIBUTORSMcDaniel, Mark; King, Leigh Anne; Chaney, Helen; Blackburn, Lauren; Danley, Christopher; Hebert, Katherine, Kostelec, DonaldCarolina Planningregularly publishes a feature highlighting projects from members of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (NCAPA). This year’s submissions focus on initiatives that are exploring issues of equity in various North Carolina communities.
    • Mark McDaniel, Center for Urban and Regional Studies, discusses the educational success of young males of color, and how the Bridges to Success program in Durham, NC seeks to design interventions to improve outcomes for these youth.
    • Leigh Anne King, Clarion Associates, addresses how planners can foster the development of local food systems and provides examples from across the state.
    • Helen Chaney and Lauren Blackburn, North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, explore how the City of Durham developed a pilot study to address access to transit with the objective of identifying ways to reduce the exposure of pedestrians and cyclists to crashes and improving connectivity for transit users to destinations.
    • Christopher Danley, Katherine Hebert, and Donald Kostelec, explain the importance of Health Impact Assessments (HIA) in addressing issues of health equity and provide case studies from across North Carolina where HIAs have been conducted.
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