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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities - Michael Hancox EPISODE 8
Beyond Talk: A Tool for Planning and Evaluating Equitable Development Projects and Plans
00:00:00 00:28:51

Beyond Talk: A Tool for Planning and Evaluating Equitable Development Projects and Plans


Moving Equity from a Buzzword to a Metric


[3:32] Topic for this episode is introduced.

[3:56] Introduction of Joan Valhalla.

[4:13] Introduction of Shauen Pearce.

[5:04] Shauen and Joan explain why a scorecard tool that ensures benefits to everyone is necessary.

[6:44] What are the five categories that are incorporated into the tool?

[7:48] Are there a set of underlying principles or values that drive the whole scorecard?

[10:33] How is this tool used?

[15:04] To what degree was the development community involved in the creation of this tool, and how have they embraced it?

[18:13] How can people learn more about the equitable development principles and scorecard tool?

[18:55] Why is this work important, and what is the motivation to do this work?

[24:52] Shauen and Joan share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.

[25:50] Shauen and Joan explain the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.

[26:26] Shauen and Joan share what the world looks like 30 years from now.


Shauen Pearce is the Executive Director of the Harrison Neighborhood Association. She is an educator, organizer, and strategist with training in critical analysis, program development, campaign organizing, and capacity development. Shauen has over 15 years of success in policy and administrative leadership in the public and private sectors. Growing up in a society marked by corruption, violence, and displacement, Shauen is inspired by the struggles and successes of wise elders and visionary leaders. She enjoys the intersections of life, encouraging everyone to think critically and selflessly about embracing justice and harmony through fearless community building.

Joan Vanhala is a Coalition Organizer at the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. Joan joined the Alliance in February 2008. Joan has an accomplished career that includes: expertise in community organizing to achieve lasting results through effective partnerships; leadership development to sustain organizing efforts for long-term community strength; and the inclusion of racial equity as a necessary component of grassroots community development. Her work in leadership development includes creating curriculum and leading classes in organizing, conducting community best practices workshops and providing one-on-one technical support to community leaders. Before joining the Alliance, Joan worked for the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods to develop and implement restorative justice programs for juveniles. She previously worked as the Native American Educational Services college campus director and a program manager for the Community Leadership Development Program at Family & Children’s Service. As a community organizer for the Phillips neighborhood, Joan led several successful campaigns that resulted in Green Institute/ReUse Center, Midtown Greenway Coalition, Franklin Avenue revitalization, public art projects created by neighborhood youth, and an energized citizen participation process in neighborhood planning and development. Joan has a degree in Community Organizing, Leadership Development: Methods and Practices from Metropolitan State University.


The Harrison Neighborhood Association is working to create a prosperous and peaceful community that equitably benefits all of Harrison Neighborhood’s diverse racial, cultural and economic groups. We work to foster community awareness to improve the quality of life within our community, to provide a forum for information and communication within our community, to educate residents in the use of effective procedures for resolving problems or initiating improvements and to unite all efforts within the community in raising and acting on issues of common concern, directed toward improving the quality of life.

The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability is a coalition of advocacy and community organizing groups formed in 1994. We work together to advance racial, economic and environmental justice in economic growth and land development in the Twin Cities region.We believe the people and places of our region are deeply connected. We work to ensure that our regional investments like housing, transit and economic development benefit everyone–especially low-income people and people of color, who are often left behind when resources are allocated. We bring grassroots organizations together to build more power and create a region that allows everyone in the Twin Cities region to thrive.


“The tool is really necessary to move community, government, and developer into more of a partnership approach to making sure our communities benefit the people who’ve been invested in them for years.”

“Essentially, the overarching principle is that we believe that all public subsidies should result in concrete benefits to low-income communities of color and that they’re part of defining what those benefits are.”

“So the community that fought for the benefits ends up being displaced by the development over time, and so the peace here is that the scorecard and the principles are meant to frame, really, the culmination of that fight to ensure that communities, which are actually the majority of this country, communities that are on the front lines, continue to benefit from all of the hard work that they’ve been doing to make sure that we have healthy, equitable, connected neighborhoods across the country.”

“The true test of the success is the willingness on all parts, on all parties, to really invest the time to have that authentic conversation and that dynamic dialog where community might have a vision, the developer knows how to realize the vision, and the government is providing—and also including planning expertise—but also providing investment so that people can end up with a project that everybody is proud of.”


The Equitable Development Scorecard

Alliance for Metropolitan Stability

Harrison Neighborhood Association


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