What is Equitable Development?

inclusive growth in our region

Equitable Development is a positive development strategy that ensures everyone participates in and benefits from the region’s economic transformation—especially low-income residents, communities of color, immigrants, and others at risk of being left behind. It requires an intentional focus on eliminating racial inequities and barriers, and making accountable and catalytic investments to assure that lower-wealth residents:

  • live in healthy, safe, opportunity-rich neighborhoods that reflect their culture (and are not displaced from them)
  • connect to economic and ownership opportunities
  • have voice and influence in the decisions that shape their neighborhoods

Over the past five years, racial gaps in wages, employment, and poverty have widened rather than narrowed, ranking Pittsburgh 78th among the largest 100 regions when it comes to progress on racial economic inclusion according to a Brookings Institution analysis.1 Numerous reports—including two released last year by the Urban Institute and the University of Pittsburgh Center on Race and Social Problems—document Pittsburgh’s stark and persistent racial inequities, particularly for its Black residents, in income, employment, education, health, wealth, housing, and opportunity.2 Data in the National Equity Atlas show that racial inequality has a steep cost: Pittsburgh’s economic output would be about $5 billion higher every year absent its racial inequities in income.3

1 For comparison, Pittsburgh ranked 48th on Growth, 6th on Prosperity, and 25th on (Economic) Inclusion. The Brookings Institution, “Metro Monitor: Pittsburgh, PA” (January 2016), http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2016/01/metromonitor#V1G38300.

2 Margaret C. Simms, Marla McDaniel, and Saunji D. Fyffe, Barriers and Bridges: An Action Plan for Overcoming Obstacles and Unlocking Opportunities for African American Men in Pittsburgh (Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2015), http://www.urban. org/research/publication/barriers-and-bridges-action-planovercoming-obstacles-and-unlocking-opportunities-africanamerican-men-pittsburgh; Center on Race & Social Problems, Pittsburgh’s Racial Demographics 2015: Differences and Disparities (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, Center on Race & Social Problems, 2015), http:// www.crsp.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/REPORT.pdf.

3 National Equity Atlas, “Actual GDP and Estimated GDP with Racial Equity in Income (Billions): Pittsburgh, PA Metro Area, 2012,” http://nationalequityatlas.org/indicators/GDP_gains_ with_racial_equity/7426/Pittsburgh,_PA_Metro_Area/false/, (accessed August 2016).

Equitable Development Steering Committee is Formed to Guide the Path to an All In Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Equitable Development Steering Committee, which is made up of diverse and respected nonprofit leaders dedicated to advancing racial equity and equitable development, convened for the first time with the ultimate goal of changing public policy and local systems through a results-based accountability framework. The formation of this Steering Committee is the result of the groundwork that has been laid by over 200 community leaders over the past year and a half in creating a shared definition of equitable development and a road map to help guide us in achieving an All-In Pittsburgh.

Equitable Development
Steering Committee Members

Karen Abrams | The Heinz Endowments

Zeba Ahmed | Perry HIlltop Fineview Citizens Councils

Malik Bankston | Kingsley Association

William Bernstein | Allegheny Conference

Fred Brown | Homewood Children’s Village

Nate Cunningham | East End Development Partners

Kristen DePaor | Office of Economic Partnerships – University of Pittsburgh

Jane Downing | The Pittsburgh Foundation (Max King)

Amber Farr | Buhl Foundation

Ray Gastil | City of Pittsburgh, City Planning

Bill Gatti | TREK Development

Dan Gilman | Office of Mayor William Peduto

Carol Hardeman | Hill Consensus Group

Melanie Harrington | Vibrant Pittsburgh

Larry Harris | Beltzhoover Consensus Group

Rebecca Harris | Chatham University, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship

Jourdan Hicks | Community Representation

Majestic Lane | City of Pittsburgh, Office of Mayor William Peduto

Daniel Lavelle | City Council District 6

Walter Lewis | Homewood Children’s Village

McCrae Martino | Partners4Work

Andrew McCray | City Planning

Andrew McElwaine | The Heinz Endowments

Carol Neyland | Dollar Bank

Lindsay Powell | Office of Mayor William Peduto

David Rogers | Hillman Family Foundations

Robert Rubinstein | URA

LaShawna Russ | Community Representation

Celeste Scott | Pittsburgh United

Gale Swartz | Housing Alliance of PA

Janera Solomon | Kelly-Strayhorn Theater/ Dance Alloy

Sonya Tilghman | Hazelwood Initiative

Carlos Torres | Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations

Tia Torres | Community Representation

Stevie Turner | KeyBank

Dewitt Walton | Allegheny County District 10

Pittsburgh Needs Equitable Development Now


The Pittsburgh Equitable Development Collaborative is the leadership body needed to implement this agenda and manifest an All-In Pittsburgh. Our collaborative has a unique identity, focus, and change
strategy – and we are positioned to do the difficult work needed to achieve tangible results for low-wealth Pittsburghers.

Pittsburgh’s resurgence brings great potential to deliver long-awaited jobs, economic opportunities, and neighborhood improvements to the people and places that have long been waiting for them. But the growth we are experiencing will not benefit all without an intentional strategy to connect underservedpeople and the neighborhoods where they live to new opportunities.

“Pittsburgh is in an ideal position to make equitable development its new reality.”

Building on Local Knowledge

A report on equitable development released in January 2016, Black Homes Matter: Alternate Approaches to Neighborhood Revitalization in the City of Pittsburgh, produced by the Pittsburgh Fair Development Action Group, shared the following principles for equitable development:

  • Do no harm to residents and small business owners
  • Increase access to opportunity
  • Increase resident incomes
  • Support resident ownership of housing
  • Support resident ownership of businesses
  • Ensure long-term housing security

Unlock opportunities and tap into the ingenuity and creativity of our residents.

Let’s Start a Conversation