Equity Agenda for Planning

Montgomery Planning recognizes and acknowledges the role that our plans and policies have played in creating and perpetuating racial inequity in Montgomery County. We have a long history of land use decisions that created exclusionary neighborhoods and formed barriers to resources and opportunities for people of color and other disadvantaged persons.

We are committed to transforming the way we work as we seek to address, mitigate and eliminate inequities from the past and develop planning solutions to create equitable communities in the future.

Historically, equity has not been part of planning in America. Change is long overdue. Encouragingly, a positive shift toward equity is happening not only in Montgomery County and the DC region, but also nationally in the planning profession. Montgomery Planning embraces this shift as part of our responsibility to develop plans, policies and regulations that benefit all members of the community and reduce or eliminate inequity. The goal is to apply a holistic equity lens to planning practices and then address existing inequities and prevent the creation of new inequities.

We look forward to working with Montgomery County to implement the Racial Equity & Social Justice Act to advance “fair and just opportunities and outcomes for all people.” This Act requires the Planning Board to address its tenets as part of the Board’s approval of master plans—this means that equitable engagement must be a part of the planning process from the start.

Equity Agenda for Planning

Montgomery Planning is developing an Equity Agenda for Planning to systemically dismantle the institutional racism that exists in our work and prevent it in the future. Developing an Equity Agenda for Planning is ongoing and will require constant attention to the influence of institutional racism on all planning and zoning processes. We’ve begun working on this through some recent master plans and studies and through Thrive Montgomery 2050, the update to the county’s General Plan. Montgomery Planning is committed to looking at everything with an equity lens, including ensuring that all staff understand and practice racial equity and social justice in their hiring practices and their work.

We are committed to confronting the legacy of racism and its ongoing effects and addressing issues of racial equity in all aspects of our work. This includes applying an “equity lens” to our plans, policies and practices. As the American Planning Association states, “Planning for Equity means applying an equity lens—for just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper and reach their full potential—to everything planners do. From the way planners work with community members creating a shared vision for their neighborhoods to advocating for policies that connect people to opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels, planning for equity is planning for all.”


The Montgomery County Planning Board is pleased to announce the Montgomery County Council’s confirmation of Planning Board member Partap Verma to serve on the county’s 15-member Racial Equity and Social Justice Advisory Committee. The Council approved Verma’s appointment to the committee on July 21, 2020.

As the “County Planning Board Chair’s Designee” representative, who County Executive Marc Elrich nominated, Verma joins a body of eight public members and seven county representatives. The group is tasked with developing and distributing information about racial equity, promoting educational activities and advising the County Executive and Council on these issues.

The County Council created the committee as part of its Racial Equity and Social Justice Act, 27-19, which was signed into law in December 2019 to actively address racial disparities within the county.

Last Updated: August 18, 2020