Equity in Planning Committee

The City of Baltimore’s Department of Planning staff created and convenes an Equity in Planning Committee (EIPC).

Launched in March of 2015, EIPC is driven by a desire to actively work towards dismantling and remedying the legacy of racial inequity that persists in Baltimore.  

Contact our team - we want to hear your ideas!

Stephanie Smith, Assistant Director, [email protected]

Elina Bravve, City Planner, [email protected]

Below, learn more about our goals and work.

Defining Equity

Our Equity Lens

Our Action Plan & Progress


EIPC In the News

Defining Equity:

This definition was developed through a collaborative process by staff at the Department of Planning; it reflects the perspective and input of internal staff. The idea was to build a shared language for the Department. A separate Citywide definition is also available here.

An equitable Baltimore addresses the needs and aspirations of its diverse population and meaningfully engages residents through inclusive and collaborative processes to expand access to power and resources.

Our Equity Lens

EIPC promotes the use of an “equity lens” for planning. An equity lens is a tool used to improve planning, decision-making, and resource allocation leading to more racially equitable policies and programs. 

Drawing from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the EIPC’s recommended equity lens considers four overarching areas of equity. For any policy or project, decision makers could consider:

  1. Structural Equity: What historic advantages or disadvantages have affected residents in the given community?
  2. Procedural Equity: How are residents who have been historically excluded from planning processes being authentically included in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the proposed policy or project?
  3. Distributional Equity: Does the distribution of civic resources and investment explicitly account for potential racially disparate outcomes?
  4. Transgenerational Equity: Does the policy or project result in unfair burdens on future generations?

Our Goals

The goals below reflect five overarching themes contained in the Department's Equity Action Plan. Specific actions towards these goals are to be updated and built upon annually.

  1. Improve and increase the dialogue and connections between the Department of Planning and underserved communities in Baltimore.
  2. Ensure that the Planning Department staff reflect the demographics of Baltimore City.
  3. Use an equity lens to develop, revise, and evaluate City policies.
  4. Use an equity lens to prioritize capital investments.
  5. Evaluate the Planning Department’s internal practices and policies.

Our Action Plan & Progress

Equity Action Plan (2017)


  • Staff Reports Equity Analysis: An internal staff team developed a framework for applying an equity lens to staff reports. This was presented to the Planning Commission in December 2020. In 2021, this process was piloted, and will be implemented more broadly beginning in fall 2021.
    • A document summarizing the discussions around adding an equity analysis to the staff reports to Planning Commission can be viewed here.
  • Workforce Inclusion Research Study: This report was researched & compiled by Mayoral Fellow Favour Okhuevbie. A staff workgroup was convened to discuss related policy and implementation.
  • Planning Academy: Convened since 2018, the Planning Academy builds community leadership in Baltimore on the issues of zoning, development and land use. The program aims to connect residents to City resources related to these topics and to each other as fellow advocates. 
  • CIP Equity Analysis: Since 2019, staff have assessed the equity of the Baltimore Capital Improvement Program (CIP), the capital budget of the City by analyzing investments by neighborhood and demographic indicators. In 2021, additional equity criteria is being piloted as part of the process for developing budget decisions.
  • Sustainability Plan Implementation Framework & Plan: The Office of Sustainability applied an equity lens to the 2019 Sustainability Update. As part of this effort, a broad engagement strategy partnered with residents to serve as Ambassadors.
  • Food Policy & Equity: Resident Food Equity Advisors (RFEA) are cohorts of Baltimore City residents that work to collectively drive equitable food policies through an inclusive, collaborative process.

EIPC in the News

New Planning Initiatives Strive for Equity in Baltimore, Planetizen

Baltimore Reckons with its Legacy of Redlining, Next City

Planning for Social Equity, Landlines

Additional Learning Resources:

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond


The People’s Institute believes that racism is the primary barrier preventing communities from building effective coalitions and overcoming institutionalized oppression and inequities.  Through Undoing Racism®/Community Organizing Workshops, technical assistance and consultations, The People’s Institute helps individuals, communities, organizations and institutions move beyond addressing the symptoms of racism to undoing the causes of racism so as to create a more just and equitable society.

Baltimore Racial Justice Action




SKEO is an environmental consulting firm that provides services to local government agencies with the goal of building a smarter, more sustainable and equitable future.

Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE)


The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) is a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. The network offers a WEALTH of resources, including:

  • How to develop Equity Action Plan available here.
  • How to use an equity tool to assess a program or policy available here.

USDN (US Sustainability Directors Network) Guide to Equitable, Community Driven, Climate Preparedness Planning

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) is a peer-to-peer network of local government professionals from communities across the United States and Canada dedicated to creating a healthier environment, economic prosperity, and increased social equity. In the document linked below, they offer a structure for understanding equity and how government institutions can improve equitable outcomes through its decision-making processes.


Racial Equity Tools


Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice. This site provides links to a variety of resources available including:

  • Core concepts of racial equity, racism, and other related ideas.
  • Examples of racial equity work and equity action plans.

Dismantling Racism Works Web Workbook:


This web-based workbook was originally designed to support the Dismantling Racism Works 2-day basic workshop and is now publicly available.

#Goodreads: Podcasts about Racial Equity from Living Cities: