Addressing Barriers to Equitable and Regenerative Urban Development

This event took place in the past. For more information on our Policy Forum Series, click here or contact Lillie Benowitz at 612-334-3388 ext. 8107

Massive investments in urban development are being made in Minnesota and the Twin Cities region, which presents a unique opportunity to strengthen our communities and make them more resilientJoin Environmental Initiative to discuss barriers and opportunities to changing our approach to urban development so it is both equitable and regenerative.

Urban development—where it happens, how it happens, and what it looks like—has profound impacts on the environment, community resiliency, and people’s ability to thrive. Over the coming decade, we will be making significant investments in remaking our neighborhoods across the Twin Cities region and many parts of the state. Ensuring that those investments restore and support the social, economic, and ecological systems on which we depend, particularly for communities that have historically been marginalized, will require new, more integrated and community-driven approaches to urban development. 

Regenerative development cannot be achieved without equitable development. Yet, our policies and practices designed to achieve better environmental outcomes, such as green design standards, are often applied in isolation from the approaches required to achieve equitable development. Even worse, “green” policies and practices can exacerbate social disparities through displacement and destruction of social infrastructure. What structural barriers must we address to achieve resilient communities through truly equitable and regenerative development? If you are interested in this event, please register now.


This event will explore opportunities for urban development to restore ecological function, advance equitable social outcomes, and address a changing climate. We will begin with a keynote about why an equitable approach to development is essential to achieving regenerative development.

Next, panel of experts will discuss: the barriers to adopting more equitable and regenerative approaches to development; the tools, policy levers, and funding incentives that are being developed and adapted to incorporate more equitable and regenerative practices; and the intersection of equitable and green development practices.

The event will conclude with small group discussions about how to apply these concepts to attendees’ work.


A photo of Bryan C. Lee, Jr.Designer and Design Justice Advocate Bryan C. Lee, Jr. is the Founder/Director of Colloqate Design.  He is the founding organizer of the Design Justice Platform and organized the Design As Protest National day of Action. He is on the National AIA Equity + the Future of Architecture Board Committee, and was the 2014 NOMA member of the year. Bryan has given talks on equitable architecture and design justice all over the country, including his talks as a 2016 TED Speaker and a SXSW Eco Keynote Speaker.


We will be joined by the following speakers for a cross-sector discussion on the interplay between and barriers to regenerative and sustainable urban development.

  • Paul Bauknight, Minneapolis Parks Foundation
  • Daniel Handeen, Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota
  • Monte Hilleman, Saint Paul Port Authority
  • Tram Hoang, The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
  • Terri Thao, Nexus Community Partners


12:30 p.m.         Registration & Networking

1:00 p.m.           Welcome

1:30 p.m.            Keynote: Bryan C. Lee, Jr.

2:15 p.m.            Panel: Unpacking Barriers & Opportunities     

3:30 p.m.           Networking Break

3:45 p.m.           Application: How do these concepts apply to your work?       

4:30 p.m.           Adjourn


For help with registration, please contact Rachel Geissinger at 612-334-3388 ext. 8122. In order to request accommodations or for more information on our Policy Forum Series, please contact Lillie Benowitz at 612-334-3388 ext. 8107.