What to expect at the 2024 Equity Summit

The Equity Summit is more than a conference. It’s a time to connect movement leaders, identify key needs within the field, and build a community of mutual support and encouragement among practitioners who may be discouraged by resistance to meaningful progress. Here’s what you can expect.

A blue and green graphic with white text reads Smart Growth America's Equity Summit: Meeting the Moment March 27-28 2024. Underneath, smaller text explains that the summit will be hosted at the historical MLK Library in Washington DC for the first time in person.

Over the course of our two-day program, participants will have multiple opportunities to gain insights into the successes and challenges of racial equity projects in the smart growth space. On the agenda is a wide variety of discussion topics including cultural organizing, lived experience integration, and inclusive wealth building. There’s a lot to look forward to, but here’s a quick look at the top five reasons we’re excited about this year’s Equity Summit.

1. We’re in person this year

The Equity Summit brings together advocates, planners, and experts from all different backgrounds so that everyone can work together to share best practices and experiences. While networking has always been a major element of the Equity Summit, we hope to see even more connections made this year as we collaborate in person for the first. With opportunities to mingle throughout the event and a happy hour at the conclusion of day one, there will be many opportunities to meet other changemakers in the field.

2. Keynote presentations from April De Simone and Charles Brown

We’re excited to have two exemplary keynotes who will bring their knowledge and energy to set the tone for the two days. Founder and managing principal of Practice of Democracy, April De Simone, will kick things off on the first day by exploring the pivotal moment we face and the urgent need to integrate intentional strategies to advance racial equity in housing, transportation, and community development practices. On day two, founder and CEO of Equitable Cities LLC, Charles T. Brown, will give his opening remarks, sharing his viewpoint as a leader working at the intersection of mobility, equity, health, and the environment.

3. Panel discussions

Our Equity Summit panelists will represent a range of fields, including transportation, housing, and the civic sector, and each of them will reflect on how they are continuing to center equity in the face of today’s challenges. Panel topics will include how to use data and lived experience to advocate for change, how to combat policies and practices that stymie Black- and Brown-owned businesses, and how to harness the power of cultural organizing.

See our full agenda, with panel descriptions, here.

4. Local organization “field trips”

Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the DC area with tours of local sites, where they’ll observe real world examples of best practices and missed opportunities for equitable development. Participants have the chance to select a tour from a range of options, including nearby business improvement districts (BIDs), 11th Street Bridge Park, and the Eden Center.

5. The conversations continue after the Summit

We’ll provide follow-up resources so that attendees can refer back to all of the information covered during the Summit. Attendees can look forward to receiving materials such as these discussion guides from previous year’s.


Advancing Racial Equity Events