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Planning for Racial Equity

This course introduces the concept of racial equity analysis in land use planning, the motives and rationales behind such analyses, and provides guidance for conducting analysis and review.

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Course Info

  • Duration 6 video lessons (55 Mins)
  • Published Published
  • 4.49
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Browse Course Chapters

  • Chapter Locked
    Chapter Duration 1 min
  • Chapter Locked
    Planning Racial Equity
    Chapter Duration 8 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Racial Equity in the Post-Civil Rights Era
    Chapter Duration 7 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Logic of Racial Equity Planning
    Chapter Duration 11 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Conducting Racial Equity Analyses
    Chapter Duration 19 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Chapter Duration 5 mins

What You Will Learn

  • Understand how land use regulation has been used to promote racial inequality.

  • Understand major Fair Housing laws and their limitations with regard to land use regulation.

  • Understand how current land use regulations can contribute to racial inequality.

  • The motivations and rationales for racial equity analyses related to land use regulation.

  • Example cases of cities adopting racial equity analysis legislation.

  • Tips for implementing racial equity analyses.

Course Description

Land use regulations, including zoning, are heavily implicated in the stark racial divides that characterize American metropolises. From explicitly racial zoning in southern cities in the 1910s to the use of building codes in an attempt to evict a black community in Mount Laurel, New Jersey to exclusionary practices such as large lot zoning, such regulations have been used to separate Americans by class and, ultimately, race and ethnicity. As America continues to grapple with the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and other institutionalized racist practices, many cities are adopting review processes designed to mitigate and avoid the mistakes that served to cement patterns of racial inequality in the past. These efforts, hereafter referred to as racial equity analyses, are the topic of this course. 

To remedy past racial injustices tied to urban planning (e.g., inequitable urban renewal practices) some cities have begun to implement policies that require explicit consideration of proposed developments' impacts on racial equity. For example, New York City is adopting a law requiring the anticipated impacts on racial equity be documented for large-scale housing projects that require city approval. Seattle’s comprehensive planning efforts include a focus Growth and Equity Analysis as part of their decision-making process for rezoning. Boston has adopted a Fair Housing Assessment Tool that requires large-scale projects that require approval to undertake a study that considers displacement risk, whether the project contributes to affirmatively furthering fair housing goals and helps mitigate past practices that excluded certain residents. 

This course will introduce the concept of racial equity analyses in land use planning, describe the motives and rationales behind such analyses, provide for guidance for conducting such analyses, and review and critique an example racial equity analysis. 

Learn these skills

  • Civic Engagement
  • Demographics
  • Equity
  • History
  • Housing
  • Land Use
  • Law and Policy
  • Urban Design
  • Zoning Codes


This course is approved for 1 AICP CM credit.
This course is not eligible for CM Equity credit because the instructor is not AICP. 


This course is 1 LU.

Meet Your Instructor

Lance Freeman

Lance Freeman

Lance Freeman is a Professor in the Urban Planning Program at Columbia University in New York City.

Meet Instructor

Join thousands of urban planners on Planetizen Courses

This is a great course that provides real world examples of how to include racial equity analyses into the planning process. This was very informative!
- Daniel H.
5 Star Review 5 Star Review 5 Star Review 5 Star Review 5 Star Review
Prof. Freeman is great, and Chapter 5 of this course is full of practical information that practitioners can use.
- Kenneth B.
5 Star Review 5 Star Review 5 Star Review 5 Star Review 5 Star Review

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