Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Thursday: Is Equity Planning Practical?

28. March 2005 • Brandon
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This Thursday, March 31st, from 6 to 7:30 pm in room 1180 at the Duderstat Center is the first event in the Equity Planning Lecture Series. The Lecture Series provides an opportunity to learn about the issues and themes surrounding equity planning from a practical and theoretical perspective.

This first event is a panel discussion which explores the question, “Is equity planning practical?” Come hear representatives from MOSES, LISC- Detroit, and the Michigan Suburbs Alliance as they discuss their work, experiences, and how to implement equitable practices on a regional scale. A reception will follow. Panelists include:

Ponsella Hardaway, Executive Director, MOSES

Tom Barwin, Chairman, Michigan Suburbs Alliance

Meredith Freeman, Program Officer, LISC- Detroit

The Lecture Series is sponsored by the Michigan Chapter of Planners Network, the Urban & Regional Planning Department, and the Urban Planning Student Association.



  1. Is it a conflict of interest for me to post this? Too late.
       —Brandon    Mar. 28 '05 - 07:53PM    #
  2. (Brandon: Not unless you’re getting paid for the event.)

    “Equity planning”, for those unfamiliar with the term, is not about how to maximize the value of your home, but about working, within the planning process, to ensure that you’re not reinforcing prior screwing-overs that subsets of the population have endured:

    “As significantly, we use ‘equity planning’ here as a shorthand to refer to planning efforts that pay particular attention to the needs of poor and vulnerable populations, populations also likely to suffer the burdens of racial and sexual discrimination, both institutional and personal.” (Making Equity Planning Work; Leadership in the Public Sector, Norman Krumholz and John Forester, 1990.)

    For example, “cutting bus service between midnight and 6 am” may appear to be an efficient move that will help to balance the City of Detroit’s budget, but it does so at the cost of people who work nights and can’t afford cars, forcing them into unemployment. Equity planning takes into account not just bottom lines, but on whom the bottom line is falling, and tries to prevent is from falling on the same people whom it has fallen upon repeatedly in the past. It is a fairly Rawlsian mode of planning.
       —Murph    Mar. 29 '05 - 09:55AM    #
  3. (With the partial intent of popping this post to the top of the New Comments queue. . .)

    I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Barwin talk. He’s the City Manager of Ferndale, and taking point on a lawsuit against SEMCOG , charging that SEMCOG’s organizational structure (heavily weighted in favor of outer-ring and exurban representation) skews decision-making in favor of fringe infrastructure investment and letting Detroit rot (and the inner-ring suburbs with it).
       —Murph    Mar. 31 '05 - 03:18PM    #