What is Equity?

What is equity?

Equity is just and fair inclusion.  An equitable society is one in which all can participate and prosper.

The goals of equity must be to create conditions that allow all to reach their full potential.  In short, equity creates a path from hope to change.

Equity is designed to address the inequalities of race, class and gender as manifested in living wage jobs, viable housing choices, affordable public transportation, good schools, strong social networks, safe and walkable streets, adequate public services, safe and well maintained parks, access to healthy food and so on.

Four principles under-gird regional equity:

1.      Integration of strategies that focus on people with those strategies that focus on improving places

2.      Reduction of local and regional disparities

3.      Promotion of investments that are equitable, catalytic, and coordinated 

4.      Insuring meaningful community participation, leadership and ownership in change efforts


Action for Regional Equity Proposed Criteria for Sustainable Communities Projects

Public Investment

  • Ensure community benefit. Because it taps public investment or regulatory relief, transit oriented development should provide measurable community benefit, including connections to productive employment opportunities, access to public amenities, and an increase in local affordable housing.
  • Maintain affordability. At least thirty percent of all housing developed or redeveloped as a consequence of any transit oriented development should be protected to ensure that it remains permanently affordable to the entry level salary of a child care provider from that community.
  • Achieve full accessibility. Any development that results from transit investment must be completely accessible to riders regardless of age or physical condition. 
  • Encourage local economic development. Land uses resulting from redevelopment near transit should encourage local economic development, effective private partnerships with the nonprofit and public sectors, enhance community-serving establishments, and discourage displacement of existing residents and small businesses.
  • Plan for transit growth. Communities embarking on significant development projects must have fully integrated transit options built into their planning, including improved accessibility for riders with disabilities.

Other Investment

  • Promote environmental justice. Prioritize equitable transit oriented development and improved public transit for Environmental Justice neighborhoods as designated by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs’ Environmental Justice Policy.
  • Prevent displacement. Structure state and local regulations so that transit oriented development enables anyone who wants to remain in the community to do so.
  • Encourage community-controlled housing. Priority for state funding should be given to jurisdictions that are working to guarantee that at least 20 percent of housing units within one mile of a transit oriented development will be held in community control as a permanently affordable community asset.
  • Boost transit use. Prioritize transit oriented development that increases ridership both for urban and suburban communities that rely heavily on existing public transit and those that have a clear need for greater transit access.
  • Improve environmental quality. Design projects that maximize environmental benefit, reduce automobile trips, measurably improve air quality, and reduce the incidence of health issues related to atmospheric pollution. Adhere to quality, healthy home and green building standards established by Action members.
  • Good Jobs Standards. Assure that god jobs are created in the operations, use, management, maintenance and construction of any development subsidized through public funding/investment, including, but not limited to, public pension funds, etc. by limiting any undercutting of standards for good quality jobs, commitments to uphold any local or regional agreements, contracts, standards, ordinances or in the absence of such, meeting wage and benefit levels sufficient to support a family without additional public subsidy.