A new, more equitable approach to regional planning and investment is critical to enabling economic growth and opportunity, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI). The company’s latest report summarizes the views of leading national experts and practitioners that were brought together for the 2021 Shaw Symposium on Urban Community Issues.
The summary report, “Equitable Investment in Infrastructure and Housing,” has been co-published by the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing and ULI Curtis Infrastructure Initiative, and includes ten key takeaways for tackling some of the most critical housing and infrastructure challenges facing the United States. One of the most worrying trends highlighted is an investment gap of $3.8 trillion for much-needed infrastructure, and the report establishes a framework to assist local communities in designing and implementing future investments in an equitable way. The goals of the framework are to:
– Enable equitable access to transportation.
– Improve access to and affordability of housing for moderate- and lower-income households.
– Reconnect and reinvigorate neighborhoods damaged by past infrastructure investments.
– Address historical disparities in community investment, particularly those based on race, and ensure equitable access to the economic opportunities and the benefits of development.
– Improve health, enhance environmental sustainability and reduce climate risks.
“As the U.S. begins to emerge from a tumultuous year and Congress debates an infrastructure package, it is important to look to the future informed by the knowledge of the past,” said Craig Lewis, chair of the ULI Curtis Infrastructure Initiative and principal, CallisonRTKL–US, who chaired the 2021 Shaw Symposium, in a statement. “Many of the challenges facing today’s cities and neighborhoods are linked to the decisions made decades ago. These decisions include positive, transformational investments in transit, parks and other community assets that have been critical to restoring urban vibrance. However, they also include the disastrous legacy of redlining, segregation and the intentional dismantling of neighborhoods that have produced generational harm for minority households, and Black families particularly.”
“If the U.S. is to compete in a rapidly changing global economy, we must build our cities, towns, suburbs and regions in a manner that enables and empowers all people to meet their full aspirations and potential,” added Lewis. “We hope that this report will help inform the housing- and infrastructure-related conversations that are to come at the federal, state, regional and local levels.”