As part of the process to develop a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD) for the Together North Jersey planning region, the Project Team has worked with the Together North Jersey Steering Committee and Standing Committees to prepare a Regional Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA). The FHEA provides an analysis of segregation, racial and ethnic concentrations of poverty, access to places of high “opportunity,” distribution of recent infrastructure investments and explores other regulatory and private market barriers to fair housing choice. The approach followed combined data analysis, a deliberative process that considers the finding of the analysis, and a “bridge” to implementation that recommends strategies and actions to address regional disparities in access to opportunity and barriers to fair housing as part of the Together North Jersey RPSD.
The preparation of the FHEA was also guided by an Advisory Group of Together North Jersey members, housing experts and equity stakeholders.
Activity 1: Data Analysis – This activity was conducted concurrently with the “Discovery” phase of the planning process. It focused on assessing existing conditions, trends and spatial patterns by answering the questions: Where are we now? Where are we heading? The Together North Jersey Project Team examined the region’s baseline demographics through a fair housing and regional equity lens, utilizing regional level and geospatial datasets. The analysis included a demographic profile and mapping of “communities of concern” and identified patterns of segregation/integration, concentrations of poverty and disparities in “access to opportunity” in the region. In addition to geospatial data analysis, the Project Team collected and analyzed data and information related to Fair Housing Act compliance in the region and examined how non-housing investments in regional infrastructure may have in the past, or could in the future, impact the the geography of opportunity in the region. The data and analysis results have been compiled into the FHEA.
Activity 2: Deliberation – This activity was conducted throughout the “Discovery”, “Visioning” and ” Action Planning” phases. It has focused on defining how “access to opportunity” should be measured in the region; identifying the “drivers” of segregation and integration in the region; disseminating the results of the data analysis; fostering deliberative discussions about what the results findings mean for the region; and considering what can be done to address the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities identified in the analysis. The deliberative discussions have occurred in a variety of forums, including: the Together North Jersey Steering Committee and Standing Committees; three regional “Local District Council Event” discovery phase workshops”, two FHEA regional workshops; seven workshops conducted by the recipients of NGO Micro-grants, and workshops and informational sessions organized by TNJ project team members.
Activity 3: Decision-making – This activity, conducted during the “Action Planning” phase of the planning process, focuses on creating a “bridge” from data analysis and deliberation to implementation recommendations. As part of this activity, the project team worked with the Together North Jersey Steering and Standing Committees to identify and integrate strategies and actions designed to address regional disparities in fair housing and access to opportunity as part of the Together North Jersey RPSD.
You can view an overview presentation of the FHEA process here (PDF).