New NAACP Report Offers Guidelines for Equitable Community Involvement

by Jacqui Patterson, Mandy Lee, Garry Harris, and Esther Obonyo

Community activists attend a Philadelphia zoning board meeting. Photo: Jacqui Patterson
The network of the Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector Initiative includes more than 600 working group members, partners, and supporters, representing more than 30 states and a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. Photos: Felicia Davis — October 2019 CESBS Working Retreat Attendees in Virginia Beach; Jacqui Patterson — August 2018 CESBS Launch Summit Attendees in Pittsburgh

Download the Full Report, or check out the Executive Summary.

The CESBS Initiative, like other efforts of the NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Program, is anchored in the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing, which centers frontline community leadership. A just transition from mainstream development to a more sustainable, equity-centered building sector should not merely welcome the historically excluded, but indeed, be led by those voices. Sustainable buildings, as well as the processes and professions that make them a reality, can and must directly benefit communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis, economic inequality, and systemic racism.

The Spectrum of Community Engagement to Ownership, Image: Facilitating Power
The Chicago Mobile Makerspace, a 2020 NOMA NAACP SEED Award Winner for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Design, embodies the idea of meeting people where they are. Photo: Chicago Mobile Makers
  • Establishment of a Project Advisory Committee
  • A detailed map of stakeholders
  • Visits with community organizations
  • Interviews, focus groups, and in-person “listening sessions” around the park
  • Six interactive workshops featuring individual and group discussions, art, games, and walking tours
  • Participation in events around Oakland, including those hosted by and for the Black community
  • A multi-lingual online and print survey, mailers, posters/flyers, a banner, an article and print ad, social media, and e-blasts

Download the Full Report, or check out the Executive Summary.

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A changing climate means a changing society. The Island Press Urban Resilience Project (URP) is committed to a greener, fairer future. www.islandpress.org/URP