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Advancing Racial Equity in Our Communities: Involving Communities in Equitable Development

Join the Urban Institute for a conversation on infrastructural racism and opportunities to redress racial and ethnic inequities in cities and neighborhoods through equitable development. This panel will build on Urban researchers’ work with the High Line Network and the Harvard Graduate School of Design to consult with infrastructure reuse projects across the nation and to jointly launch the Communities First Toolkit, a process and tools codifying a path for park practitioners to embed equity in public spaces. The researchers will also draw upon their evaluations of the equitable development plans of DC's 11th Street Bridge Park and the Purple Line Collaborative

We will discuss opportunities to center community priorities during the allocation of city, state, and federal funds to improve public space, particularly through participatory budgeting. The panel will also examine how local governments and planning agencies can acknowledge historical and present-day disinvestment in Black and Brown communities, leverage data to measure progress in equitable development projects, and funnel new funding opportunities or decision making power to residents of color. 



  • Shari Davis, Co–Executive Director, Participatory Budgeting Project
  • Andrew Holland, Assistant Budget Director, City of Durham, North Carolina
  • Peter A. Tatian, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Sonia Torres Rodríguez, Research Analyst, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Mary K. Cunningham, Vice President, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute (moderator)



The Urban Institute works across policy centers and practice areas, partnering with communities across the country to identify more equitable and sustainable policy solutions. Our researchers study the inequities caused by systemically racist policies that have long affected communities and work to find solutions that advance racial equity, build resilience, and bring community members into the process of economic development. In this series, Advancing Racial Equity in Our Communities, Urban will showcase our research and evaluation that are advancing racial equity in six of our research practice areas: fair housing, land use, and transportation; housing as a foundation; community and economic development; cities and neighborhoods; ending homelessness; and climate and communities.

Date & Time Thursday, January 19, 2023

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Urban Institute Speakers
  • Senior Fellow
    Research Director, Urban–Greater DC
  • Senior Vice President, Research Management and Program Development
  • Research Associate