Equity Planning and Environmental Justice


The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) considers equity an essential component of smart growth –​ one with a prominent place in our mission of “supporting communities, preserving resources, enriching lives”. Planning believes that our work, and the work of Maryland’s communities, can help build equitable communities in the 21st century and beyond.

This focus is embodied in A Better Maryland, the state development plan. With strategies including the development of resources that jurisdictions can use to advance sustainability, the compilation of sub-county data for local planning analyses, exploring innovative housing partnerships and financing mechanisms to increase the stock of affordable and workforce housing, and assisting local jurisdictions in the integration of health data and considerations into comprehensive plans and the development review process, A Better Maryland guides Planning’s efforts and resources in our work toward a more equitable Maryland.

Equity Planning Guides

Planning for equity does not require new processes but rather the application of specific information and deliberate strategies to traditional planning practices. All the components of a familiar planning process, such as issue identification, analysis, outreach, policy evaluation, policy selection, implementation, and tracking, can be strengthened with the inclusion of equity considerations.

Planning recommends that Maryland jurisdictions reference the following guides and examples when considering equity planning for their communities:

Maryland Department of Planning Offerings

Planning is available to assist Maryland jurisdictions plan for local equity in the areas of our core competencies that include​​ data collection and analysis and facilitated discussions.
  • Data Collection and Analysis: Upon request, Planning can compile a data package on community equity, including analysis of how a jurisdiction differs from state and regional trends and in the areas of population, housing, economy, demographics, educational attainment, and other indicators that can inform local planning for equity.
  • Facilitated Discussions: Upon request, Planning can help facilitate local conversations, which often require addressing hard truths about inequity, in Maryland’s communities. These discussions could be part of a master planning process or focused on implementation actions or organizational capacity around the issue of equity. The discussion could include staff, citizen planners, community members, and any other stakeholders a jurisdiction would like to include.

Jurisdictions that are interested in learning more about these offerings and collaborating with Planning on equity, please contact Joe Griffiths, Local Assistance and Training Manager, at joseph.griffiths@maryland.gov​

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