Applying an Equity Lens

Since 2015, the Department of Planning's Equity in Planning Committee (EiPC) has worked on a series of projects to advance racial equity in our work.

In 2017, the Committee developed an Equity Action Plan. The Equity Action Plan urges the Department of Planning to use an equity lens when developing the Comprehensive Plan. The Department of Planning has adopted the use of a four-part equity lens, from the Urban Sustainability Directors network.


We are applying an equity lens to the process by expanding our public engagement approach:

  • Allocating $150,000 of our first year budget (60% of total) to support public engagement led by community based organizations on our Community Engagement Leadership team (CELT). Each team member is designing a strategy that resonates with the community that they know and serve. This team is focused on reaching Baltimore residents who would be less likely to participate via our usual engagement channels.

    • The CELT team will also be supported by our Community Design Fellows. The part time Fellows will provide support and resources to the CELT team, while also learning about our partner organizations' work as community development leaders - and simultaneously working within the Department of Planning to explore career pathways in urban planning.​

  • Piloting a Storytelling Ambassadors program. Through this program, Ambassadors will be trained by a Baltimore based storyteller with expertise in the African oral tradition. Ambassadors will then facilitate storytelling spaces for their family and friends in their neighborhood - sparking conversations about their lived experience and tapping into communal wisdom to generate recommendations for the plan.

  • In addition, the Department of Planning is hosting a series of public events, using an open house approach - stressing that anyone can come as you are. We want these events to be informal, welcoming to all, accessible (in a variety of ways), family friendly and FUN. 



We are applying an equity lens to the development of the plan content thru the leadership of an Equity Workgroup embedded into the structure of the plan management.


In addition to Planning staff, the work group will include Advisory Council members and Equity coordinators from relevant agencies. Baltimore's Office of Civil Rights and Equity will also be a participant. The goals for this group include:


  • Developing and growing an online storymap to foster discussion, internal and external, of past land-use related policies and programs, and how these have contributed and caused inequitable outcomes in Baltimore City. We start here - by asking ourselves, how can we ensure that the communities disadvantaged historically and today can be prioritized by the vision of this planning process?

  • Working with the public to define "equitable neighborhood development" for Baltimore, and collectively generate concrete, implementable ideas to move the City towards this vision.

  • Developing and applying an equity tool to assess and prioritize all recommendations in the plan - 

  • Developing a process to ensure community governance of plan implementation. 

If you want to engage further with our team as we develop this work, please fill out this form (or email our team directly) and we will be in touch. We anticipate expanding our equity workgroup to include both interested members of the public and those with expertise in this area in Fall 2022.

This is a quote that explains the Dept of Planning's equity definition.

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. (Department of Planning, Equity Committee)