Creating Healthier and More Equitable Communities

Since 1991, communities have been required by state law to develop localized plans to address housing, transportation, and economic development and protect natural resource lands.  Our long-term goal is to is to ensure that these plans include policies to increase affordable housing for moderate and low income residents, and to require and promote a wide range of community amenities (such as parks, walkable green streets, increased tree canopy, schools, access to healthy food, community gathering places, etc.) both so that people will desire to live in our urbanized areas and so that existing residents have improved quality of life.  

A key component of this work is ensuring that equity communities will gain increased land use and service improvements to make up for the disproportionate burdens they currently face.  Our equity communities have taken a greater share of burdens and a lesser share of benefits because they’ve largely not been engaged in local government planning, policy and financial investment decisions.  This is due to limitations in: 1)  access to decision makers, 2)  ability to easily show the regional and local equity predicament, 3)  resources or capacity to engage, build coalitions, and influence policies, and 4)  access to analysis, planning and policy resources and development of strategies.  We work to reduce all of these barriers.