We have developed automated tools to guide city engineers, planners and policy makers through an equity-based process for project and program development. In Baltimore, for example, we developed an online tool for the Department of Public Works that allows them to view projects through an equity lens, aggregating data such as percentage of disadvantaged and/or minority populations.
To achieve more equitable communities, we must first acknowledge the current and historical disparity in the distribution and access to infrastructure and services, which disproportionally effects certain populations. Working with communities to set specific equity outcome goals, we must then set specific targets and adopt policies to mitigate the disparity and improve equity.
While we cannot solve decades of inequity overnight, by tracking progress through real quantifiable metrics, creating department and agency accountability with regular reporting requirements and review by city councils and the public, we can propel meaningful change in our communities. The tools we have developed can be aligned to existing workflows, allowing cities and agencies to make decisions that are not only cost effective and high-performing, but can also help to reverse disparity. In Baltimore, the online tool awards each potential infrastructure project with a scorecard for project performance, equity and combined performance to help the city make the most equitable infrastructure investment choices.
- Social equity assessment