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

Below, learn more about our goals and work.

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 reflects 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)


  • 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 has assessed the equity of the Baltimore Capital Improvement Program (CIP), and the capital budget of the City by analyzing investments by neighborhood and demographic indicators. In 2021, additional equity criteria are 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

About People's Institute

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

About BRJA

Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE)

GARE: Government Alliance on Race and Equity.

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

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 their decision-making processes.

USDN Guide to Equity

Racial Equity Tools

Racial Equity Tools homepage

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:

Dismantling Racism Workbook

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