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.  This group, consisting of staff from all teams, currently meets quarterly. 

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

A copy of our initial 2016-2017 Action Plan is available here

Charting our Progress

In 2020, we embarked on a process to document our progress towards the goals in the original Action Plan. Please view this document to see where we are. The chart below outlines our approach to measuring our progress along a time continuum. This means we are measuring where we are in terms of measuring our baseline, creating a workplan and developing a proposed policy.

Please note: Once a project/proposal/action reaches Stage 5 (Implementation) as described in the chart below, our next step(s) will be to develop an additional set of specific metrics to measure our effectiveness in terms of implementation.

Stage Explanation
1 Defining Goals and Strategy
2 Workgroup and Workplan Established
3 Work in Progress
4 Recommendations Complete
5 Implementation

Looking Ahead

In June 2020, each Planning Division undertook a brainstorming process to prioritize equity-related goals in their work for the coming year (2020-2021).

This document highlights some of the ideas this process generated.

It is important to note that this is a living document, and it will continue to evolve and be updated throughout the year.


2020 Highlights

  • Internship/Recruitment Policy: A report was researched & compiled by Mayoral Fellow Favour Okhuevbie in Summer 2020 and may be viewed via this link. In addition, a workgroup was convened to discuss policy related to the hiring and recruitment of interns and staff. 
  • Staff Reports: An internal staff team is developing and testing an equity lens to be applied to forthcoming staff reports. In Fall 2020, this work was shared with the Planning Commission. More information about implementation will be available in 2021.

2017-2019 Project Highlights

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: