Create a Definition of Equity to Frame the Project

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “equity” means “fairness or justice in the way people are treated.” Even though stakeholders may share a general commitment to these ideals, what equity means in the context of local policymaking and planning can be interpreted in widely varying ways. It is important to develop a shared definition of equity with your project partners and stakeholders to frame and guide your equity atlas project.
The Regional Equity Atlas planners created a menu of potential language for each of the components of the equity definition, which may be a useful starting point in developing your definition.
Metro, Portland's regional government, conducted research (PDF) on best practices and common themes in deflining euqity , which may offer useful background information for developing your definition.

Your definition of equity should clarify the following issues:

  • What population or community are you talking about?
  • What opportunities or resources should this population or community be able to access?
  • What changes will provide more equitable access to these resources and opportunities?
  • Why is this important?

Your definition of equity should be broadly shared by all of the project’s partners and key stakeholders. You may want to wait until you have completed a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process before developing your final definition, but you should at least have a working definition at the outset of the project to help inform your planning.

Read the Regional Equity Atlas 2.0 definition of equity.