An Approach for Inducing the Incorporation of Equity Measures into Development Management Practices

What You'll Learn

  • Participants will understand the opportunities in the use of regulatory authority and public resources to shape development for sustainable purposes.

Background Details

A fundamental threat to the revitalization of our democracy is the wealth divide and its associated impact of denying kids growing up in poverty the ability to move up. The “three E’s” of economy, ecology, and equity must regain their balance to achieve true sustainability. The UN’s Brundtland Commission in 1987 reported its assessment of the world’s greatest perils, in which they defined sustainable development in the context of that balance. They exhorted each successive generation to leave the world better off than they found it, in two key concepts:

  • “the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs”

But we find ourselves in an increasingly dangerous imbalance. Presently, the economy is booming for only a very few, ecology is taking a severe hit over the last couple of years, and equity continues to slide ever deeper, a victim of the ever more monetization-dominated makeup of the world’s economic structure. Recognizing economic realities, the proposal here is to recognize, reward, and promote good development behavior by incorporating community benefit measures into the development process.

Modelling the success that the LEED environmental sustainability measures have had, why not identify and promote social and economic equity measures into development practices? Community activists, my students, and I developed a schedule for such measures under the categories of Employment/Education, Housing, Services, Transportation, Infrastructure and Small and Start-up Business Support. It took LEED about 10 years to gain momentum, yet now it’s a central metric in evaluating a development’s success. Along the same lines and for similar reasons, why not Create Sustainable Equity Leadership? CSEQUIL?