Equity

What is equity? Can it be measured? How and when does the issue come up in housing, education, employment, public utilities, and more? How are community organizations, grant-making institutions, and policymakers working to advance equity?

5 Tips for Increasing Contractor Diversity

RATE YOUR CONTRACTORS Consider creating “contractor report cards.” Chances are contractors bidding on a project have worked in your city before. Check to see how...

When We Debate Poverty, What Are We Really Arguing About?

This is Part 3 in a series about the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. Click here for ...
3 men mixing concrete

A Partner, Not an Expert

Over the course of three decades in the development finance industry, I have learned that engaging and empowering those who have the greatest stake in their communities is the best way to achieve meaningful and lasting change.

“Confronting Suburban Poverty” Authors Respond to Critique

The release a few weeks ago of our book Confronting Suburban Poverty in America is provoking lots of discussion in the...

Conflict and Placemaking: Tactical Urbanism on Nicollet Mall

Earlier this year, the City of Minneapolis broke ground on a $50 million overhaul of Nicollet Mall, a 12-block centerpiece of its downtown. Like...

Are Big-Box Stores a Good Measure of Equity?

It’s been cause for celebration here in the DC region, and rightfully so, that suburban Prince George’s County, Maryland, has a new, high-end Wegmans...
home with sold sign in front

Equitable Tax Reform Begins at Home(ownership)

Talk of tax reform has reached a fever pitch, but most Americans don't realize just how high the stakes are and what impact the final legislation could have on their own financial security for years to come.

Is It Time to Think About Post-Post-Katrina New Orleans?

Nine years on, New Orleans is a very different place from what it was like in the wake of...

All Aboard, America

The weekend before Barack Obama and Joe Biden take the oath of office, I can’t help but remark on the seeming missed opportunity for...

English Required for a Mortgage?

   Language barriers pose an obstacle to fair access to credit, but this population is overlooked in fair credit discussions.Non-English...

This Is How We Should Measure Our Work (And Achieve Economic Justice)

This is Part 6 in a series about the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. Click here for...

You May Not Realize How Poverty Works

We've been having a ongoing conversation here on Rooflines marking the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty about...

Serving the Community, In Their Language

   From hiring priorities to translation headsets to making special requests of the phone company—the exciting and important work of...

The Felt Factor

With all this talk of sustainable communities, how come we tend to exclude, at least in conversation, the very thing that can educate community...

Recovery from the Grassroots

An interesting new planning document by the Sandy Regional Assembly was just released by a cross-section of grassroots groups, most based in New York...

…At Your Own Risk

Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey’s piece in The Wall Street Journal, “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare,” touted his own company’s health insurance...

The Mess In Texas (Houston: We Have a Recycling Problem)

The New York Times reports that of the nation’s 30 largest cities, Houston, the fourth largest city behind New York City, Los Angeles, and...
memorial

An Old American Struggle, Always New

Color and Character is an introduction to the seminal and unresolved struggle over integration and racial equality in America.
bus

Taking the Bus: Nonprofit Conferences and Integrity of Purpose

Nonprofits advocate for local transit spending, but annual conference logistics don't typically include bus route information for attendees.

Vulnerable Workers

Anti-immigrant laws and the lack of a solid path to citizenship leave immigrant workers vulnerable to exploitation—and harm the whole community.

It’s The Great Election, Charlie Brown

Halloween approaches and, as always, we’re found waiting for the Great Pumpkin, er, Election. Immediately following the...

Citizenship Is an Asset

Naturalizing is a great way to improve opportunity, but it’s expensive. How can we open that door to more of the immigrants who qualify?

What Can 35.5 MPG Change?

Tuesday’s announcement from the White House regarding the president’s intention to direct EPA and DOT to jointly raise fuel-economy standards and reduce greenhouse-gas pollution...

I Want to Ride My Bicyle. I Want to Ride It Where I Like

It’s Bike to Work Day 2009 and I did not ride my bike to work. Why? I can’t. I can ride a bike, and...

Rich Train Station Neighborhoods Need More Apartments

New Jersey’s extensive public transportation system is a source of envy for most other states, many of whose larger...

Stay Safe and Take Care of Each Other

Shelterforce hopes that all of our colleagues and friends in Hurricane Sandy's path are staying safe. We...

Bostic on Green Finance: Investing in Sustainable Outcomes

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has posted a brief, informative interview with Raphael Bostic, HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, on...

A Rail Line Toward Community Development

Amid the growing acknowledgment that strong centers make healthier regions, it’s increasingly clear that the argument for providing opportunities for transit oriented development, or...
The cover for the book, "I Got Schooled" by M. Night Shyamalan.

Filmmaker Needs to Look at the Whole Picture

I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Moviemaker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Achievement Gap, by M. Night Shyamalan. Simon & Schuster. 306 pp. $25.00 (hardcover). Purchase here.

Poverty Today Looks Completely Different and That’s Important

This is Part 1 in a series about the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. Click here for ...

The “What If” Scenario

At the third and final presidential debate, when John McCain proclaimed that, Acorn, the darling target of conservative advocacy groups like FOXNews, could have...

Got a House? Cast Your Vote.

Sounds scary, right? With the foreclosure crisis ushering over a million people into homelessness in the last two years, we’re seeing, again, political machinery...

The Increase in Suburban Poverty Could Be a Good Thing

Family poverty has spread beyond its traditional geographic boundaries, and our institutions and policies need to adapt to this...
people gathered under and around an information tent

Persistently Poor Regions Would Welcome a Little Gentrification

It is often said that you get what you pay for. Clearly, too little is being paid to create positive change in America’s most vulnerable places.

Katrina: A Political Disaster

The handling of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath underscores the human disaster resulting from the ascendancy of right-wing ideas and corporate domination of the federal government, which extols market forces, individualism and private charity over public responsibility and the common good.
migrant farm workers

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development, April 27

Climate Gentrification | A Marijuana Tax for Housing? | Homeownership Alone Can't Close the Wealth Gap | Illegal ICE Raids on Farms | Keeping An Eye on Opportunity Zones | More...
Ai-jen Poo speaking.

Interview with Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance

Ai-Jen Poo has been organizing with domestic workers for over 15 years, helping in New York to win some of the first statewide labor protections for occupations often exempt from labor laws, and expanding this campaign to a nationwide vision for a strong caregiving workforce and infrastructure for elder care. In 2014 she became a MacArthur Fellow, but this was hardly her first award.
A dark-skinned woman in the foreground and two light-skinned men are wearing neon yellow T-shirts reading "City Life Vida Urbana, No Nos Moveran, We Shall Not Be Moved" and marching with a black banner with "City Life Vida Urbana" in red letters.

Housing Justice Organizers March Against White Supremacy

Housing is on the radar of racial justice activists.

Building Multiculturally

One culture’s idea of the ideal house is different from another. Luckily, floor plans are adaptable.

Habitat Retrofits Oakland Brownfield for LEED-ND Pilot

Habitat for Humanity’s East Bay affiliate is retrofitting a brownfield into 54 affordable homes on two acres of land in Oakland, Calif. With excellent...

Seattle Neighborhood Planning

At first glance, the Neighborhood Planning Program in Seattle, Washington, sounds like a remarkably progressive idea. Begun in 1995, the program is one of...

Sprawl’s share of US housing starts has declined dramatically, says EPA

A new report from the US Environmental Protection Agency documents a dramatic shift in the pattern of new development in the nation over the...
fast food signs

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Oct. 12

News from—and affecting—the community development world. This week: fast food swamps, Seattle has too many apartments, criminal justice, basic income pilot, more.

One Less Truth-Teller

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Democrat of Ohio, died yesterday after suffering a burst brain aneurysm. Tubbs Jones, 58, was the first black woman to...

Solar Installation Gives New Power To A Community

Located in the southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., Parkchester Apartments was not unlike some other affordable housing developments in the city. Property owners had come and gone without making adequate investments in the nine-building complex, and residents had all but given up when its tenant association voted to bring in its current owner, The NHP Foundation (NHPF), in 2015. Within months, residents began to see signs of improvement. Top on the list of changes was the realignment of Parkchester’s environmental footprint.

Solar for the People

So this story started off sounding so promising.An affordable housing complex put solar panels on its roof!Also, it's affordable...

Attitude Reflects Leadership

Recently I was honored to receive the Ned Gramlich Award for Responsible Finance during the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) Conference in Denver. To be recognized by the national association of investors dedicated to aligning capital with justice was a humbling experience—one made more so by the courageous legacy of the late Federal Reserve Bank Governor […]

Crossing Neighborhood Boundaries

Equitable regions are stronger, healthier regions for everyone. This is becoming more and more of a bedrock understanding within our...
Multicolored collage of houses with photos of ceramic birds

Be It Ever So Humble

In the American idiom of good things, the importance of “home” and “community” cannot be challenged. The associated images – mom, apple pie and...

A Nation—and Neighborhoods—of Immigrants

The story of neighborhood populations changing with waves of migrants is a classic part of the history of American cities. We are, as most...

Reintroducing America to Itself

Tonight, the first evening of the Democratic convention, America was reintroduced to its grass roots. Some memorable moments: Jimmy Carter addressed the hall via video...
A man and a woman stand in front of a chalkboard sign that reads "This House Could Be ..."The man is writing on the board, as many others have done. Some of the suggestions for what the house could be include a community gathering space and a senior center.

Rebellion Spurs Opportunity and a New Housing Movement

How a Baltimore collaborative plans to make shared-equity housing a significant sector in the local housing market.
People line up next to donation items after Hurricane Katrina.

Civil Rights Organizations on Hurricane Relief Efforts

Throughout what we know will be a long recovery over the coming weeks, months, and years, Shelterforce hopes to share the stories of the...
sign at 2014 brown v. board rally

Integration—We’ve Been Doing It All Wrong

I recently had a revelation about the American approach to racial integration: We've been doing it all wrong, and it's had disastrous effects on African Americans.

Race and Class: Katrina vs. Iowa

Concentrated poverty and hypersegregation generate wide-ranging costs in almost every major U.S. city, particularly for less favored populations. New Orleans clearly fits this description....

Doesn’t Voter Fraud Require Actual Voting?

John McCain’s peculiar, over-the-top attacks on ACORN were initially a little hard to take seriously. Even when he kept on, it just left us...

A New Way to Do Affirmative Action?

I was prepared to dislike Sheryll Cashin’s Place, Not Race, just based on the title. However, the author largely won me over.

HUD & DOT Team Up To Promote Sustainable Communities

This is awesome. Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s joint press release from HUD and DOT: “WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Housing and Urban...

How Exactly Does One Measure Economic Justice?

This is Part 5 in a series about the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. Click here for...

Let’s Transform the Zip Codes

The counties and parishes in the Mid South characterized by persistent poverty have the highest unemployment rates, the lowest performing schools, and the worst health.

3 Good (and 3 Not-So-Good) Uses for HUD’s New Data on Location Affordability

HUD and the Department of Transportation recently released the Location Affordability Portal, a new website designed to share information...

Getting Beyond Growth at Any Price

The Resilience Imperative: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady-State Economy, by Michael Lewis and Pat Conaty. New Society Publishers, 2012, 400 pp., $26.95. I must admit...

Commuter Rail�s Promise

The battle over what sort of transportation projects to include in the economic stimulus package centered around whether to emphasize...

Going Green

The last week of June turned out to be Sustainable Development Week unofficially in Chicago as a convergence of events spread the word on...
yellow arrows painted on sidewalk

Where Banks and the Public Agree on CRA . . . and Disagree

Despite a CRA exam pass rate of 98 percent, the major thrust of bank comments is that they want easier exams with fewer moving parts and less uncertainty.

As Cities Prosper, Poor People Relocate to Suburbs

The number of low-income people living in suburbs increased 67 percent between 2000 and 2011, altering longstanding perceptions of...
burlap with screenprinted words

The $9 Jar of Artisanal Pickles: Equity and Local Food

Sustainability is about thriving, not just surviving. We will not thrive if we are poorly paid martyrs to a good cause, and thus, in a healthy, diverse and vital food system, some of our efforts might need to be directed to those who can pay nine dollars for a jar of pickles.

Hungry for Housing

New Deal Ruins: Race, Economic Justice and Public Housing Policy, by Edward G. Goetz. Cornell University Press, 2013, 256 pp. $23.95 (paperback).

Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities, by Lawrence J. Vale. The University of Chicago Press, 2013, 448 pp. $27.50 (paperback).

Giving New Meaning to “Green” Transit

In the US, we tend to think of public transportation as inherently green, which of course it is compared to...

Section 3: It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

Section 3 was a truly creative idea when it was inaugerated in 1968: Let's give low-income residents the first crack...

Home Again

With the help of its local community development corporation, a Boston neighborhood comes to terms with its transformation as a beloved church, long a treasured part of the community is reborn as housing.

The Justice Gap

The post-Katrina work of legal services lawyers shows that if you care about equity, legal aid belongs high on the list of crucial disaster recovery programs.

Our Window of Opportunity Is Open–Let’s Tackle Poverty Now

Every few generations, the stars align to create the potential for monumental, transformative social change. Turns out we’re in just such a moment right now when it comes to tackling poverty in the United States. I don’t blame you for being skeptical. Economic inequality is growing, big corporations are consolidating their political power, and our […]

Where We Live Affects How Much We Drive and What We Can Afford

The Urban Land Institute has produced a remarkable report that examines in depth how where we live affects how much we drive, and consequently...
cover this book changes everything

This Book Changes Everything

Book Review: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

Rail Time Enthusiasm

Summoning the ghost of Eisenhower, President Obama announced yesterday “a new era in American train travel” involving an $8 billion “down payment” for, and...

English Required for a Mortgage?

Language barriers pose an obstacle to fair access to credit, but this population is overlooked in fair credit discussions.

Keeping Everyone Afloat: Is Universal Basic Income the Answer?

Advocates and organizers who deal with the needs of the poor often say it's not really a housing/food/training issue, it's an income issue. So what would happen if we just addressed income?

Transforming the market for development location

One of the most popular tags on the blogging site of my organization, NRDC, is “market transformation.” I’m a believer. Not everything...

A Fair Housing Agenda for 2008 and Beyond

With more than 3.7 million instances of housing discrimination occurring annually and segregation remaining a central feature of the nation’s housing markets, fair housing...

Sorting Through What Sustainability Means

It’s interesting how language shifts slightly over time to reflect new ways of thinking. I recall a few years ago reading that some people...
Albany, New York

Funding the City

Property taxes were set up at a time when cities were regional centers of wealth. Times have changed. We need to another look at how we're funding cities.

Urban Planning Needs More Women

As a feminist who loves labeling herself with the word feminist, I get stuck in a lot of frustrating conversations with those who...

A Tale of Two Infrastructure Projects

Living in Central New Jersey, I’ve had a ringside seat for the last few years to one of the...

Plans for Housing in the Age of Climate Change Should Include This Tool

As extreme weather patterns in our country become less of an anomaly, the plight of people living in storm-prone...

“Inequality Happens?” Hopefully Not

In a recent Rooflines post, Sarah Treuhaft holds up new, reputable data that finds that inequality is not a circumstance of economic success, after all, but that it actually has a dampening effect. Specifically, the widening gap between the poor and lower middle class (households in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution) and […]
courtroom

Absence of Eviction Court Recordings Leaves Tenants Vulnerable

In a court division where a family can lose their home after a two-minute trial and only 12 percent of tenants have lawyers, Cook County's lack of eviction court transcripts—with no court reporters or digital recording equipment since 2004—has serious repercussions for tenants.
Cars on downtown New York City street.

Rich Neighborhood in NYC Actually Gets a “Noxious” Use

A core environmental justice fight has long been the fair distribution of necessary nuisance uses throughout a city. Poor neighborhoods tend to be over-burdened...

Where’s the Map for Social Inequity?

I spent the day at a workshop on July 9 called, “Post-Sandy: The Effect on the Urban,” held at New Jersey Institute of Technology...

Airbnb, Test Your Hosts for Bias

Airbnb, as with some other of its fellow peer-to-peer “disruptive” tech solutions, has come under fire from a few...

Hope…of Curbing Climate Change

When the Environmental Law and Policy Center was founded in Chicago 15 years ago, cell phones that could get clear reception or send images...

Transit Initiatives Boosted by Employers

It’s been clear for several years that more people than ever support public transit. In vote after vote, people...

Tassafaronga Village: Affordable Green, Gold and Platinum in East Oakland

Oakland, California’s Tassafaronga Village is a new mixed-income, green neighborhood development that is bringing a high degree of environmental excellence to a traditionally underserved...

Watching This Movie is an Act of Patriotism

Since I concluded my book review of Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our...

How the Community Reinvestment Act Can Help Flint

The audacious and callous decisions leading to the tragedy in Flint, Michigan are cruel and beyond comprehension. What is needed is an all-out effort...

Good News for Voting Rights

A three-judge panel blocked Texas's voter ID law today, stating the law would curb voter turnout and would foist “strict,...
rent strike

Los Angeles Should Expropriate This Land and Give It to Tenants

Though slumlords are not directly to blame for our nation's wealth disparities, they profit from them. Seizing their property and giving it to tenants would produce a more just and equitable outcome than what has been practiced in the past.

2 Easy Ways HUD Could Bring More NOLA Homeowners Home—With Money It Already Has

Donna Bartholomew’s mother moved to New Orleans as a young woman and bought a home in the Ninth Ward. Over the years, raising...

The Geography of Carbon Emissions from Driving, with Maps

The Center for Neighborhood Technology is releasing today a new series of GIS-based maps showing where carbon emissions from driving are the highest in...
young men playing horn instruments

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development, April 13

Really, YIMBYs? | TOD Without Displacement | Tracking 80 Million Evictions | MLK's Campaign, Revitalized | Airbnb Hastening Demise of NOLA Culture? | Bike "Borrowing" for Equity | More