Smart Growth & Regional Collaboration
MAPC believes that achieving equity is essential to the sustainable future of the Metro Boston region and the well-being of its residents. An equitable region is one where all residents have access to opportunities that enable them to attain their full potential. Every person has a shot at growing up healthy, receiving a quality education, getting a good job that ensures a good quality of life, and enjoying life into old age.
An equitable Metro Boston is free from discrimination that marginalizes people based on race, sex, religion, disability, national origin, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, family or marital status, income, military status, criminal history, or age. It holds up leaders from marginalized groups and centers the experiences of the disenfranchised.
To create MetroFuture, MAPC’s regional plan for growth through the year 2030, thousands of people came together to talk about a future they wanted for the region. They envisioned an equitable region, in which “all people have full and equal access to opportunities that enable them to attain their full potential.”
In MAPC’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, MAPC identified advancing equity in the region as one of four strategic priorities for the agency to focus on. The plan asserts that MAPC will play a leading role in helping the region to achieve equity. Over the five-year period, MAPC will weave efforts to address equity into project work and bring equity issues to the forefront.
Our Definition of Equity
Equity is the condition of fair and just inclusion into a society. Equity will exist when those who have been most marginalized have equal access to opportunities, power, participation and resources and all have avenues to safe, healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. It requires restructuring deeply entrenched systems of privilege and oppression that have led to the uneven distribution of benefits and burdens over multiple generations. Society will be stronger when the promise in all of us is actualized.
With inspiration from: Policy Link, King County Office of Equity and Social Justice
Equity in the Region
In 2008, MAPC launched its State of Equity Initiative to build on the MetroFuture regional plan and to help advance its goals. The initiative has two ongoing elements: Developing and monitoring key indicators of regional equity and identifying key policy recommendations to move the region towards its goals.
To achieve a more equitable region, MetroFuture identified key goals to help eliminate unfair, preventable, and systematic differences between groups in the region. These focus areas included health outcomes, medical care, education, transportation options, and combatting segregation through a diversity of housing types. Objectives in the plan were tied to trackable indicators such as educational attainment rates or average incomes.
In 2011, MAPC released The State of Equity in Metro Boston, the first in a series of indicator reports to monitor the region’s progress toward achieving goals set out by the MetroFuture plan.
The report was followed by a State of Equity Policy Agenda, which updated MetroFuture implementation strategies based on the findings of the 2011 State of Equity Report. The policy agenda gives recommendations the region can use to meet its 2030 equity goals given the realities of the regions challenges.
In 2017, MAPC released the first update to the State of Equity report, showing how MetroBoston had changed over five years, where the region was making progress, and in what areas it was struggling. The update showed that the region had made some progress in closing critical gaps, though large disparities remained. The following year, MAPC released an update to the Policy Agenda (see call-out box).
2018 State of Equity Policy Agenda
In February 2018, MAPC released an update to the 2014 State of Equity Policy Agenda. The State of Equity Policy Agenda 2018 is a document that provides specific policy actions addressing inequalities and inequities that exist in our region. The policy agenda is not confined to the work of MAPC, but is intended to serve as a tool for our coalition partners, legislators, state and municipal officials, policy experts, and other interested parties.
The policy agenda is made up of six different goals that, if achieved, will lead to greater equity across our region: inclusive communities, affordable places, quality jobs, affordable education, safe environments, and public safety.
For each of MAPC’s six goals, the policy agenda includes strategies that will help MAPC, state and municipal government, and other local organizers achieve them and specific policy actions that all levels of government should consider to make the region more equitable.
The full agenda, including interactive maps using MAPC's equity data to show disparities in the region and further information on the goals and guiding principles, is available at equityagenda.mapc.org.
Equity within MAPC
MAPC works to reflect the values that we strive for as a region in our work and office environment around equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Our strength lies in our diversity, and it should be fostered and supported. Our Agency should reflect the diversity that exists in Metro Boston and our work culture should be welcoming and embracing of all cultures and experiences.
The Equity Initiative at MAPC was created to support and carry out this mission. The Initiative is a cross-departmental group that meets regularly to influence the agency’s policies, programs, and office culture to ensure they are consistent with these values.
Every year, MAPC creates and implements an MAPC Equity Action Plan, which outlines action items to advance equity and cultural competency across the agency.
MAPC Equity Action Plan
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
- Educational, networking, and discussion sessions
- Bystander intervention training
- Anti-oppression training
- Ensure alignment of team’s activities with Strategic Plan implementation and Work Plan
- Update Equity in Action projects analysis
- Continue to build relationships with organizations whose core mission includes advancing equity
- Work with HR to determine best strategy for advancing diversity and inclusion in recruitment, retention, and advancement practices
MAPC Equity Team Mission Statement:
MAPC believes that achieving equity is essential to the sustainable future of the Metro Boston region and the well-being of its residents. An equitable region is one where all residents have access to opportunities that enable them to attain their full potential. Every person has a shot at growing up healthy, receiving a quality education, getting a good job that ensures a good quality of life, and enjoying life into old age. An equitable Metro Boston is free from discrimination that marginalizes people based on race, sex, religion, disability, national origin, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, family or marital status, income, military status, criminal history, or age. It holds up leaders from marginalized groups and centers the experiences of the disenfranchised.
To achieve equity requires acknowledging inequities that persist because of bias, discrimination, and racism, both structural and interpersonal. It requires confronting the historical and present-day factors that have contributed to creating existing disparities, and it requires working actively to eliminate disparities that harm marginalized groups in ways that are unfair, preventable, systematic, and grounded in social, political, and historical factors.
We believe that we must embody the values that we strive for in the region in our work and in our office environment. We also believe that equity, diversity, and inclusion are a strength. Our agency should reflect the diversity that exists in Metro Boston and our work culture should be welcoming and embracing of all cultures and experiences. The Equity Initiative at MAPC exists to support and carry out this mission. We are a cross-departmental group that meets regularly to influence the agency’s policies, programs, and office culture to ensure they are consistent with these values. Every year, we have a work plan with action items (such as the ones listed here).
A Note from the Current Equity Team:
During the last seven years of implementation, the Team has identified opportunities for change at MAPC in the areas of organizational culture, communications, service delivery, policies and standards, and administration and governance. Our work has supported the integration of changes at the department and division level. Equity considerations are now better integrated into agency work plans and practices.
The Team will continue ensuring that equity stays on the radar by supporting the inclusion of equity considerations in discussions at managers and directors meetings; supporting equity efforts underway in different departments; pursuing opportunities to link our internal and external equity work wherever possible; and continuing to serve as a space to identify challenges and brainstorm strategies for continuing to advance equity in our policies, standards, and practices.
Looking at FY2019, the task of the Team is continuing to:
- serve as ambassadors of equity in our respective departments and divisions
- continuing to lead with values and finding opportunities to talk about our project work from an equity lens – leading by example and speaking up about opportunities to integrate equity considerations in our work
- listening for and documenting emerging issues and needs in the area of equity and brainstorming possible solutions as a Team, which can be integrated into ongoing equity implementation activities
The Team is also committed to ensuring that our annual Action Plan aligns with and advances the objectives and measures of the Equity priority in the Strategic Plan.