Why History Matters in Equitable Development Planning

The organization planning the 11th Street Bridge Park is an APACC member, and they were recently featured in a new article on Next City, “Why History Matters in Equitable Development Planning.” The article highlights a recent study done by the Urban Institute - also on APACC’s roster - that puts the equitable development planning efforts associated with the Bridge Park in historical context.

You should read the whole article and the study, but one quote that stands out:

“… Achieving a set of equitable development results is not the same as achieving actual equity (i.e., fairness and justice) for an historically marginalized community. After all, it is possible to imagine any number of equitable development projects being completed in a previously disinvested-in neighborhood without true equity ever being achieved. In other words, more affordable housing, small businesses, jobs, and cultural experiences may be preserved or created without there ever being enough of these things to prevent displacement of many current residents, much less to substantially mitigate the widespread effects of systemic racism on black and low-income residents living in places like DC’s Ward 8. “

Achieving real equity is an enormous challenge, and no one organization can do it alone through their projects, even through innovative and dedicated efforts like the Bridge Park’s equity work. We recognize that the inequities experienced by many of our constituents and neighborhoods in the Anacostia River Corridor are hundreds of years in the making, but APACC nevertheless grounds our network in the work of equitable development, working together to achieve more than any one organization could on its own.