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OneCape 2023: Considering equity and diversity in addressing our challenges

Equity and diversity in all aspects touch each of our regional challenges: from equitable zoning to ensuring equity in climate planning and mitigation strategies, to broadband services that all can easily access, and housing available and accessible to all sectors of the community.

Commission Historic Preservation Specialist Sarah Korjeff led an inspiring panel discussion highlighting under-represented histories across New England and work to uncover often hidden stories of the past. In this session, attendees learned about the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard, efforts to ensure the inclusion of Native American history in the Plymouth 400 celebration, a pair of walking trails in Portsmouth, New Hampshire that highlight the area’s women’s and LGBTQ+ histories, and work to feature the Cape Verdean and Azorean history in Falmouth.

Sessions on equitable climate strategies and digital equity touched on how we connect the community to promote sustainable infrastructure and resilient communities.

Commission Deputy Director Steven Tupper led a panel discussion on day one comprised of Maggie Downey of the Cape Light Compact, Stephanie Spadoni of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, and Erica Blonde of HNTB. The discussion centered on implementing equitable climate mitigation and adaptation strategies and ensuring that all voices are represented during the planning process.

In a session focused on closing Cape Cod’s digital divide, David Talbot of CTC Technology and Myles Kamisher-Koch of Rural Innovation Strategies facilitated a conversation about the Regional Broadband needs Assessment process and goals. Cheryl Coss of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute presented on statewide digital equity programs, highlighting local initiatives and opportunities for engagement.

Following a mainstage presentation about the National Zoning Atlas, Cornell University professor Sara Bronin held a question-and-answer session to further dive into the issue of zoning and equity, and how changes in zoning laws are needed to create equitable housing.

Tara Vargas Wallace of Amplify POC, Julie Wake of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, and Jonathan Berk of Mainvest joined Commission Chief Planner Chloe Schaefer to explore ways to create a thriving community infused with art and culture, and the importance of small businesses, diversity, and the arts on our local economy.

When considering our regional challenges such as housing, climate, water quality, transportation, and economic opportunities, it is essential to ensure that we consider equity and diversity in the planning process and in crafting and implementing strategies.

Video and presentations from plenary and breakout sessions are available at:

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