Social and Income Inequality are among the top challenges facing development and real estate investment, according to presenters on the Equity and Inclusion: Creating Conditions the Benefit Everyone panel at the Urban Land Institutes Fall Conference, which is in Downtown Los Angeles this week. Panelists included Calvin Gladney, managing partner at Mosaic Urban Partners; Angela Blackwell, CEO of Policy Link; Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and moderator Michael Banner, president and CEO of Los Angeles LDC. Each of the speakers gave a brief speech on their perspective of equitable development and why it is important to the success of communities and cities.
Blackwell kicked off the topic with an eloquent speech defining equitable development. In her definition, she separates equitability from equality. The latter, she said, focuses on providing the same tools to achieve success, while the former asks, “What are the outcomes.” By equity, I mean just and fair inclusion into society,” she said in her address. “I think equity is the superior growth model going forward.” Equitable development, then, is the idea of creating inclusive societies that function for people across the economic spectrum. She says the progressive of gentrification will illustrate this “in passing.” There is a sweet spot when both the former community and the higher income groups live side-by-side. “We have to give people access to communities that thrive,” she said.