Urban Habitat Programs

Bay Area Social Equity Caucus
The Bay Area Social Equity Caucus works to ensure that low-income communities and communities of color in the San Francisco Bay Area have real political power over the decisions shaping their lives, and access to the region’s environmental, economic, and social opportunities. Facilitated by Urban Habitat, the caucus is a regional coalition that unites local organizations across issue areas in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors to define and pursue an agenda for justice that increases effective community participation in decision-making processes and holds decision makers accountable. [read more]

Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute
People of color and low-income communities have historically had little say in regional planning or economic and environmental policymaking, yet it is these communities that are most negatively affected by these policies. Advocates from these communities often lack the information and resources to participate effectively in long-term metropolitan planning and policy-making. In response to this challenge, Urban Habitat launched the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute with the following goals: People historically marginalized from decision-making processes because of their race and class will hold priority seats on local and regional boards and commissions in the San Francisco Bay Area. This new network of progressive leaders will be technically and politically prepared and supported to make decisions reflecting the needs of low-income communities and communities of color. [read more]

Environmental Health
The health of low-income communities and communities of color is significantly compromised by poverty, substandard housing, inadequate public transit, and discriminatory land use and zoning decisions. Urban Habitat believes that health is more than the absence of disease -- environmental health is deeply tied to many policy areas including housing, transportation, land use, and job quality. To improve environmental health, Urban Habitat empowers Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color to engage in meaningful participation in the decision-making process that impacts the health of their communities, neighbors, and families. [read more]

Land Use and Housing
Urban Habitat partners with a range of stakeholders including community-based organizations, government agencies, and policy makers in order to promote regional smart growth and equitable development. Equitable development provides an alternative to the current practices and policies that have led to gentrification and displacement of low-income residents. It does so by ensuring that development results in concrete community benefits including affordable housing, local hiring, living wage jobs, opportunities for locally owned businesses, effective public transit, open space, and opportunities for effective community participation. [read more]

Leadership Institute
The Leadership Institute offers grassroots leaders and activists, community-based organizations and government officials, a space to sharpen their critical thinking and develop a collective vision on an array of issues including city planning, economic development, environmental justice, public transportation and civic participation. The Leadership Institute roots group discussion and analysis within each individual’s personal experience because often times participants are already experts or personally impacted by the issues discussed and the information shared in these sessions. By bridging the gap between theory and practice, the Institute aims to promote a reflective process which leads to more effective and powerful forms of information sharing, community engagement and activism. [read more]

Race, Poverty & the Environment

Race, Poverty & the Environment publishes news, views and analysis for social and environmental justice. With attention to the nexus of race, class and environmental issues, the journal publishes news articles, case studies, and theoretical work from organizations and individuals on the frontlines of today’s social movements as well as leading academic authors. The journal is published twice a year. Subscriptions are available and entire issues are available online, as well. [read more]

Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI)
The Richmond Initiative is Urban Habitat’s work with the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI). REDI seeks to promote policies and programs that provide community benefits to all residents, especially low-income communities and communities of color. Urban Habitat has played an active role in many of REDI’s activities and is the co-convener of REDI’s General Plan Campaign which brings together a diverse collaboration of organizations and people who strive for development and planning that results in among other things, access to affordable housing, living-wage jobs, a clean environment and safe and reliable public transportation. [Read More]

Transportation Justice
An affordable, reliable, and connected public transit system is one of the fundamental building blocks of a healthy and equitable region. Program staff and the Transportation Justice Working Group provides critical race and class analysis of transportation planning and funding to ensure that Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color equally benefit from public investment in transit, highways and roads. Through research, policy and collaboration, we link local transportation advocacy and organizing efforts to the broader movements for social, economic and environmental justice. [read more]