Smart Growth Equity Discussion Guides

The Equity Summit and Equity Forum Discussion Guides provide a way for smart growth advocates—whether you participated in our programs or not—to take the compelling content and turn it into action and tangible change in your community.

2024 Equity Summit Discussion Guides

Race determines place: April De Simone and Charles T. Brown on advancing spacial justice
The Keynote’s from April De Simone and Charles T. Brown centered on addressing systemic inequities and promoting spatial justice through dismantling oppressive systems, advocating for reparative measures, and centering racial equity in transportation and mobility. They emphasized the importance of acknowledging the ways inequity shows up in our planning processes and how to enact various forms of justice to create more inclusive and equitable communities.

Changing the systems through relationships: Collaborative governance for generational change
It’s important to build strong community relationships and engage residents in the planning process. Throughout the summit, we heard from experts about strategies for fostering collaborative governance, leveraging community strengths, sharing leadership and decision-making power, and creating inclusive policies that reflect the diverse voices and experiences within the community.

Community is key: Building stronger through community engagement
Involving community members in envisioning and planning their built environment is essential for cultivating more equitable outcomes. Whether it’s by creating resident-led teams, identifying community priorities, or leveraging local knowledge, there are strategies to ensure diverse voices are included in the planning process. Inclusive decision-making empowers communities.

2023 Equity Summit Discussion Guides

Fostering culture to create welcoming and vibrant public spaces
Dr. Joy Bailey-Bryant, the keynote speaker at the 2023 Equity Summit, discussed the role of culture in creating vibrant public spaces and building equitable communities. This discussion guide provides a guiding framework to examine how public spaces, private developments, and museums can be more welcoming, inclusive, and representative of long-established surrounding communities.

Knowing and eliminating systemic barriers to homeownership: leveraging renters to build wealth
To effectively dismantle the systemic barriers to Brown and Black homeownership and wealth-building, we must understand our history, examine current barriers, and advocate for innovative solutions that will help close the wealth gap.

Leveraging community leadership to build better-connected communities
The location, creation, and justification for much of the infrastructure that gets us all from place to place each day—especially the interstate highway system—was created to be explicitly racist and classist. Today, a grassroots movement—and massive federal funding—rises to demand that projects meant to connect places no longer separate Black and Brown communities.

Strategies for moving toward a low-carbon future
Equitable decarbonization involves utilizing policies, investments, and strategies to remove or eliminate carbon emissions while taking the needs of communities that are most severely impacted by climate change into account.

2022 Equity Summit Discussion Guides

Community revitalization through behavioral economics
Why do residents leave their neighborhoods or wish they could leave? By turning the focus inward, with talent retention strategies, reframing how we talk about poverty, and the creation of spaces and places people value, community revitalization can be realized.

Planning for equitable climate adaptation
Communities that have been historically marginalized by land use, lending, and planning policies are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.

Transportation and data
Technology must be paired with the right policies.

Better neighborhoods, same neighbors
The pursuit for justice is also a pursuit for prosperity. The decades-long rise in demand for living and working in walkable places—especially with good access to transit—is good news, for our health, our economy, and the fight against climate change. However, too often current residents of these neighborhoods are left behind or pushed out.

2021 Equity Summit Discussion Guides

Equity 101
How smart growth principles increase equity in our communities

Supporting Black and Brown businesses is a key to smart growth
Equity is a key, strategic factor in the overall success of our communities. This is why smart growth targets investment to Black and Brown-owned businesses because they are vital to the vibrancy and authenticity of a place; making it a place where people want to live, visit, and work.

Dismantling exclusionary power structures
To effectively dismantle exclusionary power structures, those with the power must follow the lead of those closest to the problems and invest in their success by actively supporting participation in political and economic decision-making.

Repairing the harm caused by the interstate highway system
The interstate highway system ripped through the heart of many thriving Black and Brown communities, forever impacting economic and social opportunities for those communities and creating durable physical barriers that persist today.

2022 Equity Forum Discussion Guides

Equity Forum: Equitable Brownfields Redevelopment

Equitable Brownfields Redevelopment: Vision & Strategies

Brownfields Redevelopment & Community Empowerment

Equity Forum: Upending Cultural Displacement

Protecting and Preserving Culture During Change

Equity Forum: Advancing Equitable Transit-oriented Development

Creative Approaches to Funding ETOD

Equity is Not an Afterthought: How to advance equity within the community

Housing in The Right Place at the Right Price—for Everyone