Equitable and Green Infrastructure Project
In November 2021, Deputy City Manager Bertha Johnson asked the Neighborhood Improvement Services Department’s Community Engagement Team to lead equitable community engagement for Equitable and Green Infrastructure (EGI). NIS was tasked with identifying historically harmed and disinvested neighborhoods and coordinating with neighborhood representatives to select a location in the neighborhood where we can meet to hear neighborhood infrastructure issues. The data from this engagement will be shared with the EGI Budgeting Committee and the Implementation Committee, which is represented by other City departments / offices: Economic and Workforce Development, Equity & Inclusion, Fleet, General Services, Planning, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Transportation and Water Management.
The purpose of the Equitable and Green Infrastructure Project is to prioritize investment in, and engagement with low-wealth communities and communities of color that have historically been excluded from or harmed by policy decisions. This project aims to rectify these harms and improve infrastructure in these communities. With a focus on historically disinvested communities, these infrastructure investments can reduce disparities, promote environmental justice, and improve residents' quality of life.
In accordance with the Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint and the NIS’s Departments vision, the Community Engagement Team focuses on building engagement for the long-term. Thus, EGI engagement emphasized deep engagement with a small group of neighborhoods and residents. This approach allows the team to establish a strong, sustainable foundation within these neighborhoods which can grow as EGI projects progress. Through this intentional process, the Team designs engagement with community members and provides the flexibility necessary to reach diverse audiences. This emergent, iterative process also ensures the Team builds an engagement model / approach that can successfully expand to other communities in future months and years.
To ensure that equity is at the center of how we deploy infrastructure solutions, we plan to engage with disinvested and low-wealth communities in the design and development of plans to help address equity in making decisions. Our goal is that residents have power in determining how infrastructure improvements are implemented in their neighborhoods. To hold city government accountable to the feedback from residents, community allies are community-based engagement collaborators to support the City of Durham’s public involvement efforts for its Equitable and Green Infrastructure Program.
Are you interested in becoming a community ally? Email [email protected].
Stay tuned to this webpage for more updates as we collect data and responses from community members!