In May this year, Karen Chapple, Professor Emerita of City & Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and Director of the School Cities at the University of Toronto, launched an exciting new initiative, the Equitable Development Data Insight Training (EDDIT) program, funded by a $2.2 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
EDDIT provides free data analysis and storytelling training to organizations working towards urban equity in small and mid-sized cities across the US and Canada. Local government agencies, nonprofits, and community organizations in these smaller cities are often less well resourced. By supporting them, EDDIT hopes to build their long-term organizational capacity to make the case for equitable development and communicate the impacts of their work to local stakeholders and policymakers.
The inaugural competitive application process garnered significant interest from both US and Canadian organizations. Six organizations - five American and one Canadian - were selected to participate in the 2023 cohort. Each cohort organization is undertaking incredible urban equity projects across a wide range of areas including affordable housing, tree equity, food security, economic development, and more.
Throughout the summer, the EDDIT team traveled to all six organizations, from Northern Alberta to the New Mexico desert. Through these site visits, the EDDIT team connected with the cohort members, learned about their communities, and deepened their understanding of the challenges each group is tackling as part of their urban equity projects.
The EDDIT team is currently co-creating a series of curricula tailored to meet the storytelling and data analysis needs of each cohort organization. They expect to begin curriculum delivery through winter and spring 2024, culminating in a summer symposium in Toronto where each organization will demonstrate their progress and learning.