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Citywide

Racial and Social Equity Action Plan

San Francisco Planning’s Racial and Social Equity Action Plan aims to pro-actively advance equity in the Department’s internal and external work such as community planning, community engagement, policy/laws development, hiring, and process improvements. This is guided by the Department’s Racial & Social Equity Vision.

Planning’s Racial and Social Equity Vision  

We envision inclusive neighborhoods that provide all with the opportunity to lead fulfilling, meaningful, and healthy lives. We envision a city where public life and public spaces reflect the past, present and future of San Franciscans. We envision a city where a person’s race does not determine their lives’ prospects and success.

We envision an inclusive Planning Department and Commissions that represent and engage the communities we serve. We envision a Department that proactively infuses racial and social equity in both internal operations and external Planning work. Together, we are reimagining what the Planning field is and can be – inclusive, diverse and one that centers racial and social equity both as a practice and as an indicator of success.

In order to achieve this broader city vision, we must do our part and address racial and social equity within the Planning Department’s policies and practices.

Adopted in 2019 and revised in 2020 to align with the San Francisco Office of Racial Equity's Citywide Racial Equity Framework, the Department's Action Plan is an essential component of Planning's work supported by Mayor London Breed, the Board of Supervisors, the Office of Racial Equity, the Human Rights Commission, and many other racial equity champions across the City. Phase I of the Plan contains specific goals, objectives, actions and accountability measures to implement and track progress on our internal racial and social equity goals.

Since its 2019 adoption, the unprecedented events of 2020 have forced us to reexamine how we can advance racial and social equity in our role as planners and public servants. This work is now also guided by the Commissions' 2020 Equity Resolutions to focus the Department's work and resources on achieving an equitable city that works for all.

  • On June 11, 2020 the San Francisco Planning Commission adopted Resolution No. 20738 centering the Planning Department's work program and resource allocation on racial and social equity. Read the full document here.
  • On July 15, 2020, the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission adopted Resolution No. 1127 centering Preservation Planning on racial and social equity. Read the full document here.
  • On January 4, 2019, the proposed City's Five-Year Financial Plan is released, a long-term strategy for city investments driven by the guiding principles of accountability and equitable outcomes in the provision of city services and use of city funds.
  • On August 2019, the Board of Supervisors passed legislation creating a San Francisco Office of Racial Equity, which requires all city departments create Racial Equity Action Plans by 2020, see our previous and updated plan below.

Planning's Action Plan will be updated every three years and monitored consistently. The Action Plan is our primary tool to help advance racial and social equity in our work in a comprehensive way, including internal and external processes (hiring, public information, project review, outreach, etc.), policies and programs, staff capacity-building, and process improvements. The Office of Racial Equity is the lead agency citywide advising, conducting citywide racial equity trainings and providing coordination across departments.

The effort consists of the following components:

Phase 1 (2016-early 2019)
  • A Phase 1 Action Plan focused on internal functions such as hiring, promotions, workforce development, staff capacity building, resource allocation, and contracting.
  • An Interim Racial & Social Equity Assessment Tool to help staff incorporate racial and social equity analysis into their day-to-day work.
  • Structural Racism 101 training for all staff and Commissioners
  • (2020-early 2021) An updated Phase 1 Action Plan consistent with the San Francisco Office of Racial Equity Citywide Racial Equity Framework for internal programs and policies.
Phase 2 (2019-2021)
  • A Phase 2 Action Plan focused on Planning’s external functions such as community planning, legislation, public information and historic preservation among others.
  • An implementation plan for both phase 1 and 2
  • More tailored Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tools
Ongoing
  • Implementing and tracking the Plan and reporting on progress annually 
  • Updating the Plan every 3 years  

The Plan’s development is a learning and evolving process. However, implementation of the Plan has already begun by launching our staff training in structural racism and bias, and using an interim Racial and Social Equity Tool for some of our work.

Phase 2 of the Plan focuses on the external functions of the Department. We will conduct a community engagement process to develop goals, objectives, and actions that address community concerns and causes that prevent us from advancing racial and social equity in our work.

Next Steps

Spring - Winter 2021
  • Spring 2021 General Plan Virtual Events Community Workshops
  • Spring 2021 Phase 1 finalized with ORE feedback and Equity Advisory Council convenes
  • Spring - Fall 2021 second round of Phase 2 Community Engagement*
  • Winter 2021 Phase 2 Draft published (tentative)
*This may also include engagement on implementation of phase 1 and phase 2 actions such as budgeting, a racial and social equity impact analysis, and a planning code audit.

 

Project Timeline

January - December 2016
  • Participation of 15 Department staff (“Core Team”) in year-long, nationwide Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) training
  • Racial and Social Equity Initiative and Action Plan Phase I launch
Winter 2016-17
  • Internal, Departmental staff survey completed by 190 staff
  • Human Rights Commission all-City agencies’ GARE participation and Citywide Racial Equity Working Group (CREW) coordination launch
Spring 2017
  • Racial and Social Equity 101 training for all Department staff development and launch
Spring 2018
  • Racial and Social Equity Action Plan Phase II planning launch
Winter 2018-19
  • Milestone: Racial and Social Equity Action Plan Phase I published
  • January and February 2019 Informational Hearings at the Planning and Historic Preservation Commissions
Spring - Fall 2019
  • Milestone: Initial 101 Racial and Social Equity training for all Department staff and Commissions complete
  • Milestone: San Francisco creates new Office of Racial Equity
Fall - Winter 2020
  • Milestone: Action Plan Phase 1 adopted at the Planning Commission (November 21, 2019) and by the Historic Preservation Commission (December 4, 2019)
  • Action Plan Phase 2 initial round of community engagement started
Summer 2020
  • Milestone: On June 11, 2020 the San Francisco Planning Commission adopted Resolution No. 20738 centering the Planning Department's work program and resource allocation on racial and social equity.
  • Milestone: On July 15, 2020, the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission adopted Resolution No. 1127 centering Preservation Planning on racial and social equity.
Winter 2020
  • Milestone: Action Plan Phase 1 updated for consistency with the San Francisco Office of Racial Equity Citywide Racial Equity Framework.
Winter 2021
  • Internal, Departmental staff survey on Phase 1 priorities completed by 113 staff

 

What is Racial and Social Equity?

The Planning Department and other City agencies participating in the Citywide Racial Equity Team lead by the Human Right Commission are defining racial equity, consistent with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), as a state when race can no longer be used to predict life outcomes and outcomes for all groups are improved. Social equity is fairness and justice in the management of public institutions, forming of policy and delivery of public services taking into account historical and current inequities among groups, such as along gender identity, sex, religion, and disability status.

Why Lead with Race?

The City of San Francisco challenges all forms of oppression, including racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, and many others. The Racial and Social Equity Initiative is the Planning Department’s proactive strategy to comprehensively and intentionally address these issues internally and externally in our work. The Planning Department is leading with an emphasis on race to acknowledge that racial inequities have been baked into government, including the planning field, from the inception of this country; and to confront the reality that racial inequities continue to exist in our community. These racial inequities affect all of us and our ability to live well and thrive. We believe that challenging institutional and structural racism is essential to a just and equitable society.

Emphasizing racial equity provides the opportunity to introduce a framework, tools, and resources that can also be applied to other areas of marginalization. Subsequent phases of this work will expand to include other social equity issues beyond race as we develop capacity and resources for implementation. We lead with race and are working on addressing institutionalized sexism, heterosexism, ableism and other oppressions. According to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE):

“ It is critical to address all areas of marginalization, and an institutional approach is necessary across the board. As local and regional government deepens its ability to eliminate racial inequity, it will be better equipped to transform systems and institutions impacting other marginalized groups.”

Why a Racial and Social Equity Action Plan?

For many in our region, San Francisco is a great place to live, learn, and work. Yet we have deep and persistent inequities–that in many cases are getting worse and threaten our collective prosperity.

Current day disparities show that people of color continue to fare worse, many years after the Civil Rights Era, than their white counterparts in every area: housing, employment, education, criminal justice, and health. For example, household income for white households is close to three times that of black families and close to double that of Latino, and Native American households; 53% of inmates in the San Francisco County Jail are black while black people only comprise about 5% of the City’s total population; and statues and symbols glorifying the conquest and genocide of Native American people exist alongside high school dropout rates, low life expectancy rates and a high percentage of stress-related illnesses for Native Americans in our city.

From the inception of our country, government at every level has played a role in creating and maintaining racial and other forms of inequity. A wide range of laws and policies were passed, determining who could vote, be a citizen, own property, where one could live, and more. With the Civil Rights Movement, laws and policies were passed that helped to create positive changes, including dealing with explicit acts of discrimination. However, despite progress in addressing explicit discrimination, racial inequities continue to be deep, pervasive, and persistent in San Francisco and across the country. Native Americans and blacks have the highest unemployment rate at 15.2% and 17.1% respectively, despite being only 0.3% and 5% of the population respectively. Also, 50% of black households, 31% of Native American, and 30% of Hispanic/Latino households are severely overburdened with housing costs. In addition, close to 50% percent of white residents own their homes, while no other group gets close to 50%: Asian residents have the next largest home ownership rate at 35.7%, and no other group exceeds the 10% rate, most are below 5%, and Native Americans have the lowest rate of any group at 0.2%.

Because the public sector has a responsibility to work for the public good, these racial inequities can and must be addressed. Government has the ability and duty to implement policy change at multiple levels and across multiple sectors to drive larger systemic change.

Planning’s work deeply impacts the lives of San Francisco residents and has the opportunity and responsibility to help close disparities. By framing and implementing our work through a racial and social equity lens, we have the opportunity to achieve a number of goals, including but not limited to: more inclusive community engagement processes; better informed policy development; more accessible and relevant programs; and more diverse and equipped staff to meet the needs of San Francisco’s diverse population.