Equity and community Development

When we talk about equity and community development we are talking about ensuring that all residents of our community can thrive. 

We speak in terms of four aspects of equity:

Distributional Equity: Ensuring that all of our populations have the resources they need for sustainable development and equal opportunity. We have been, for example, mapping public goods (windfalls) and undesirable features (wipeouts) against our concentrations of poverty, disadvantaged or under-resourced populations, and minority (global majority) populations (identified by the state as environmental justice populations) to identify who is being served and who is not, and how. Our goal is that public goods, from public health outcomes to transportation options to recreation and open space opportunities, are equitable. We pay especial attention to front-line communities, those populations who by virtue of location or resources will be disproportionately affected by climate change. 

Structural Equity: Ensuring that we are doing all that we can to overcome decades of institutional racism and disparities. For example, we want to understand disparities that can not be explained by anything other than race and institutional racism. 

Procedural Equity: Ensuring that all populations are represented in the decision making process and especially reducing the bias from those populations that can most easily attend public meetings. For example, studies have shown that the populations most likely to come to public hearings about individual projects are middle class homeowners, yet 45% of Northampton's population is renters and they are underrepresented in these hearings.

Intergenerational Equity: Ensuring that the decisions we make today to not rob our children, our grandchildren, and our environment of future opportunities. For example, climate change is the most obvious of these issues, where investments today will effect our youth and unborn generations.


For Planning & Sustainability, this includes a focus on affordable housing, encouraging Just Big Enough housing, focusing on climate change, especially as it affects front line communities, resiliency, community economic development, social services, accessibility, and opportunities.