The Equitable Development Guidelines, a new tool for real estate developers released today, outline a comprehensive set of standards to help ensure that real estate developers’ projects benefit the community, respond to local needs, and result in positive impacts on the social and economic well-being of individuals and neighborhoods.
“Real estate development makes a significant impact on neighborhoods, in terms of affordability, accessibility, economic opportunity, and more,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of ISLG. “With these guidelines, we’re providing straightforward steps and recommendations to help developers consider the long-term impact of their projects on communities, especially for disadvantaged groups.”
Equitable development projects can provide affordable housing, create good jobs, increase access to services, and ensure that communities have a voice in shaping the future of their neighborhoods. The Equitable Development Guidelines released today provide developers with a set of standards and details about decisions, activities, and strategies to accomplish those goals. The guidelines focus particularly on standards and activities that will have a lasting, positive impact on disadvantaged groups—groups adversely affected by inequalities, based on research findings and feedback from experts and community groups.
“These guidelines are a first step in building more equitably and reducing inequality across neighborhoods. A key next step will be to create a certification system to incentivize developers to incorporate many of the approaches outlined in the guidelines, similar to the way in which LEED certification has encouraged environmentally sustainable design,” said Jocelyn Drummond, lead researcher for the Equitable Development Guidelines. “We hope to work with government and investment partners to incentivize more builders to implement the guidelines in their projects, thereby improving equity across even more neighborhoods.”
The Equitable Development Guidelines released today recommend strategies and activities in 5 areas:
- Planning process
- Employment and procurement
- Designated space
- Design standards
The guidelines recommend, for example, pursuing partnerships with community-based organizations; prioritizing local or disadvantaged businesses when procuring materials or services; designating space for a community asset that meets a demonstrated need; maximizing the number of affordable units; and following design standards that impact the health and well-being of building tenants and neighborhoods.
The guidelines also include an overview of the evidence base underlying each guideline, including case studies of development projects and resources for developers.
Designed specifically for real estate developers, the Equitable Development Guidelines were informed by input from researchers and policy groups; architects and urban designers; developers; labor and workforce development groups; government agencies; and community and advocacy groups. They build and expand on recommendations from existing resources to provide a comprehensive set of guidelines across the entire development process.