ITE Journal - May 2021 - 18

| inside the industry

Incorporating Equity through Community
Engagement: Durham, NC, USA
By Anne Phillips,
Ph.D., Principal
Planner, DurhamChapel Hill-Carrboro
Metropolitan Planning
Organization

In August 2018, the Durham City Council directed
staff to create an Equitable Community Engagement
Blueprint to guide future engagement for the Durham
Belt Line Trail, a 1.7-mile trail that will connect north
Durham to downtown and the East Coast Greenway
once complete. The City Council issued this directive in
response to concerns that residents had not been adequately informed about the project and that the project
would lead to green gentrification, a process where
amenities such as parks and trails lead to " increases in
housing prices and the influx of new, wealthier and often
white residents in low-income communities of color. " *
Transportation staff see this directive as a turning
point in Durham's approach to equity. Although the
city was no stranger to equity concerns, the Blueprint,
created by the Neighborhood Improvement Services
Department with input from other departments, pushed
staff to think about how to better include community
members-especially those being excluded by existing
practices-into the planning process. Transportation
staff has learned a great deal about how to center equity
since the development of the Blueprint, and successfully
adapted existing strategies to continue to center equity
during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alise Leslie

*	 Rigolon, A., and J. Christensen, Greening without Gentrification: Learning from ParksRelated Anti-Displacement Strategies Nationwide. https://www.ioes.ucla.edu/wp-content/
uploads/Greening-without-Gentrification-report-2019.pdf. (Accessed March 29, 2021).

A traffic circle in the east Durham neighborhood painted by community volunteers as
part of Durham's Shared Streets Program.
18

May 2021

i te j o urnal

Data, particularly demographic data, are the cornerstone of Durham's equity strategy. The first step that staff
and consultants took was to develop demographic profiles of the project corridors for two ongoing projects:
the Better Bus Project, designed to provide safe access
to bus stops and improve bus service, and the Sidewalk
Assessment and Inventory Study. There are two benefits
to starting with a demographic profile, according to
Jackie Turner, principal at J. Turner Consulting, an
engagement consultant on the Better Bus Project. The
profile provides a target for outreach, and helps the
project team determine what outreach methods will be
most effective in reaching the community.
Thinking about who lives on a corridor is important
because " for people living in the neighborhood, experiences are hyperlocal, " Turner says. Thinking about the
hyperlocal experiences of residents led Turner to spend
a Saturday having informal community conversations
with bus riders at stops on Fayetteville Street before
formal engagement for the Better Bus Project began.
Talking to residents in an informal and local setting was
pivotal to helping Turner understand resident perspectives on what it is like to wait for and ride the bus.
Following guidance in the Blueprint, city staff and
consultants collect demographic data for engagement
activities. These data help the project team to determine
whether they are reaching the residents most affected by
a particular project.
Aidil Ortiz, principal at Aidilisms and a local
consultant working on the Sidewalk Study, also began
work with a demographic profile. Starting with residents
that have been traditionally excluded by the planning
process is a more realistic approach to equitable engagement, according to Ortiz. " As a project goes on, your
attention, energy, and resources go down over time, "
she says. For the Sidewalk Study, Ortiz first focused
on strategies targeted towards historically excluded
communities, then followed up with a broader strategy
through the city's public affairs office. This allowed her
to use limited resources to reach residents she knew
would be harder to engage when the project team had
the time and funding resources available to do so.
Durham's Shared Streets program, a response to
the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighted how transpor-


https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/durhamnis/pages/592/attachments/original/1543332399/Draft_Equitable_Engagement_Blueprint_%2818%29_11.06.pdf?1543332399 https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/durhamnis/pages/592/attachments/original/1543332399/Draft_Equitable_Engagement_Blueprint_%2818%29_11.06.pdf?1543332399 https://www.greenway.org/ https://www.ioes.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Greening-without-Gentrification-report-2019.pdf https://www.ioes.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Greening-without-Gentrification-report-2019.pdf

ITE Journal - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - May 2021

ITE Journal - May 2021 - 1
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 2
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 3
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 4
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 5
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 6
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 7
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 8
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 9
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 10
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 11
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 12
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 13
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 14
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 15
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 16
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 17
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 18
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 19
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 20
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 21
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 22
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 23
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 24
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 25
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 26
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 27
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 28
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 29
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 30
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 31
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 32
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 33
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 34
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 35
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 36
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 37
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 38
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 39
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 40
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 41
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 42
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 43
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 44
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 45
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 46
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 47
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 48
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 49
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 50
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 51
ITE Journal - May 2021 - 52
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ite-journal-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ite-journal-may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ite-journal-april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_Mar2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_Jan2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_Dec2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_Nov2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_Oct2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_Sept2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_Aug2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_July2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_June2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_May2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_April2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_March2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_February2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_January2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/ITE_December2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G110939_ITE_November2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G110110_ITE_October2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G110109_ITE_September2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G108559_ITE_August2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G108250_ITE_July2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G107225_ITE_June2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G104039_ITE_May2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G104038_ITE_April2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G104036_ITE_March2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G103582_ITE_February2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G102868_ITE_January2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G100155_ITE_December2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G100154_ITE_November2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G99495_ITE_October2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G98028_ITE_September2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G97366_ITE_August2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G96287_ITE_July2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G94315_ITE_June2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G93877_ITE_May2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G93065_ITE_Apr2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G91484_ITE_Mar2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G89434_ITE_Feb2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G86608_ITE_Jan2018
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com