1st Edition

The Equity Planner Five Tools to Facilitate Economic Development with Just Outcomes

By Jason King Copyright 2024
    352 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    352 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Economic development is intended to benefit everyone in a community, however, in many cases, increased public and private investment can result in the pricing out and displacement of existing residents and businesses. How do we achieve more equitable outcomes?

    The Equity Planner provides a toolkit of practical solutions for planners and all those involved in placemaking to promote thoughtful, inclusive planning. Each chapter of The Equity Planner examines one particular aspect of inequity in the urban planning sphere, covering issues such as identity retention, affordability, and the protection and enhancement of local assets. While each chapter offers practicable solutions to these issues, the 'Notes from the Field' sections describe how these same tools have been used (either successfully or unsuccessfully) in projects the author has been involved in, with a particular focus on the local resistance each project encountered. These real-world case studies are used to suggest methods to overcome such resistance, which the reader can then apply to their present initiatives.

    This book is written for urban planners, local activists, social scientists, policy makers, and anyone with an interest in equity planning. This book will be of use to both practicing and training urban planners and architects who seek to add equity planning to their professional repertoire.

    Table of Contents




    1.     Drafting Community-based Visions: Municipal Plans and Redevelopment

    a.      How to Create and Implement a Community Plan

    b.     Step 1: Create a Draft Vision and Draft Plan

                                                   i.     The Four Attributes of Every Equitable Plan

    1.     Courage in Urban Planning

    2.     Vitality in Urban Planning

    3.     Intelligence in Urban Planning

    4.     Sensitivity in Urban Planning

                                                 ii.     Notes from the Field: Rebuilding Downtown Montgomery, Alabama

    c.      Step 2: Identify a Leader and an Implementation Team

    d.     Step 3: Begin Plan Implementation with Public Investment

                                                   i.     The First Three Strategies for Rebuilding Downtowns and Local Main Streets

    1.     Strategy 1: Create a Reason to Visit

    2.     Strategy 2: Build One Great Street

    3.     Strategy 3: Design an Equitable Place to Live

    e.      Step 4: Continue Plan Implementation with Private Investment

    f.      Step 5: Update the Vision and Plan

                                                   i.     Notes from the Field: The Effort to Protect and Enhance (and No More) Alameda Avenue, in El Paso, Texas

                                                 ii.     Notes from the Field: Three Forays into International Projects


    2.     Revitalization that Retains Identity: Redevelopment Agencies and Funding for Redevelopment  

    a.      Two Paths: Gentrification or a More Equitable Redevelopment

    b.     The Agents of Change

    c.      Retooling our Redevelopment Agencies and Redevelopment Funding

                                                   i.     CRA Goals and Structure

                                                 ii.     New Goals for CRAs

                                                iii.     Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

                                                iv.     CRA Funding Beyond the TIF

    d.     Notes from the Field: Wheeler District and Equitable Tax Capture

    e.      Notes from the Field: Creating a Redevelopment Agency with Local Control in Miami Beach’s North Beach


    3.     Housing for All: Affordable Housing Policies and Providers

    a.      Public Monies for Affordable Housing are Decreasing Nationally

    b.     The Varieties of Affordable Housing

    c.      Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

    d.     Housing Trust Funds (HTFs)

    e.      Funding for Affordable Housing: Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)

    f.      Incentives and Requirements for Affordable Housing

    g.     Fair Share Housing Requirements and State Overrides of Local Zoning

    h.     Market Rate Affordable Housing

                                                   i.     Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

                                                 ii.     Missing Middle Housing

                                                iii.     Mobile Home Parks

                                                iv.     Notes from the Field: Reforming Zoning Codes to Improve Housing Affordability in Six Communities

    i.      Why Have Zoning at All? Why Do We Still Separate Housing Types and People?

    j.      Affordable Housing and Consensus-Based Processes

    k.     Anti-Displacement Tools for Neighborhoods

    l.      Equity in Practice

                                                   i.     Notes from the Field: Working with the Private Market to Build Affordable Housing at Mesa Vista in Las Cruces, New Mexico

                                                 ii.     Notes From the Field: The Good and the True in Laredo, Texas. A Guest Essay by Diana Peña.


    4.     Protecting and Enhancing Local Assets: Business Protection Policies and Workforce Development Investment

    a.      The Small Business Crunch and the Cost to Local Governments

    b.     Programs to Help Local Small Businesses

    c.      Workforce Development Investment

    d.     Notes From the Field: Bristol, Rhode Island Stays Independent

    e.      Notes from the Field: Missoula, Montana’s Effort to Stay Unique, Independent, and Humane in a Time of Rapid Gentrification

    f.      The CRAs Responsibilities Regarding the Homeless

    g.     Dying and Dead Malls

                                                   i.     Notes from the Field: A Post-Shopping Mall in Crystal River, Florida


    5.     Help from Above: Competitive Funding from Federal, State, and Local Sources

    a.      The Poverty Rate Metric

    b.     Sources of Equity Funding

                                                   i.     Notes from the Field: Raising Taxes to Pay for Waterfront Access in Crystal River, Florida

                                                 ii.     Notes from the Field: Designing Post-disaster Affordable Housing in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

    c.      The Life of a Travelling Consultant

                                                   i.     Notes From the Field: Making Martha’s Vineyard More Affordable and More Humane­­­


    6.     How Urban Planning Must Change

    a.      The Equity Planner’s Charter

    b.     The Way Forward



    Jason King, AICP, is a city planner who has directed multi- disciplinary teams around the U.S. and the world and served as the prime author on over 200 plans for regions, cities, towns, neighborhoods, corridors, streets, and parks. He is the author of The Climate Planner: Overcoming Pushback Against Local Mitigation and Adaptation Plans (Routledge, 2021).

    1.   “Equity Planner is based on the concept that economic development and neighbourhood investment are not synonymous with gentrification, or at least the negative ramifications that can result from it. This is an important distinction to be made. I highly recommend the book.”

    Robert Piatkowski, AICP, Senior Urban Designer, WSP, Jersey City

    1.  “Equity Planner focuses on an issue that is overlooked in mainstream planning but isn’t limited to a single aspect of equity, such as affordable housing. The book provides a more comprehensive approach that touches on culture, identity, and small business development.”

    Ryan M. Darmanie, M.C.R.P., Urban Planning & Design Consultant, East Port of Spain