Racial Equity at Planning & Building

Oakland's Planning & Building Department acknowledges the historical role that planners, building and development professionals, and other officials have played in enabling systemic racism and segregation in our communities. To reverse these harms, we commit to prioritizing the voices and needs of Oakland's Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) residents in the development of our City.

Race and Equity Team

The Oakland Planning and Building Department (PBD) has formed a Race and Equity Team (RET) with the help of the Department of Race and Equity (DRE). Its charter was formally signed by department leadership in 2019. With guidance from DRE staff, the RET supports the Department in furthering its equity goals, both in the community and internally. The RET also collaborates with RETs in other departments throughout the City. You can learn more about the City of Oakland's Race and Equity Change Process here.

Our Mission

The Department of Planning and Building’s Racial Equity Team supports the mission of the City of Oakland to transform practices in City government to promote racial equity. The Team will develop the department’s Racial Equity Strategic Plan and promote application of a racial equity framework and tools across the department’s activities.

Our Goal

Planning & Building Race & Equity Goal
Planning & Building Race & Equity Goal

Our Work

General Plan question written on chalkboard on the Black Thought Wall at Akoma Market

Planning & Building and its Racial Equity Team have been working to achieve racial equity in our internal structure, our external policy and services, and in the outcomes of our work in the community. With the help of the Department of Race and Equity, the Planning & Building Department (DRE) and its Racial Equity Team have been changing our approaches and building capacity to proactively address racial inequities resulting from our work in many ways:

  • Incorporating racial equity analysis into our planning and policy work in many different projects
  • Requiring participation for all managers and supervisors in DRE's Advancing Racial Equity Academy to study everything from personal and implicit bias to structural and institutional racism and the tools to dismantle it
  • Creating an "Inclusive Hiring Guide" and incorporating implicit bias training for interviewers in the hiring process to ensure our staff better represent the community we serve
  • Collaborating between staff and management to integrate racial equity goals into our department's budget priorities and key performance indicators

Today, our focus is on engaging all staff in creating a guiding document that identifies ways their daily work impacts racial disparities and how we can continue to change our approach toward leading to better results for the most impacted communities.


With the guidance of the Department of Race and Equity, PBD has moved toward developing all of its planning and policy projects with a racial equity framework, using tools such as Racial Equity Impact Analysis and Inclusive Community Engagement practices. The following City of Oakland projects that impact have explicitly included racial equity in their data analysis, goals, measures of success and/or community engagement practices.

Learn more about how Oakland is addressing institutional and cultural change toward racial equity:


Deeply Rooted Youth Fellowship Flyer
May 05, 2022

Deeply Rooted Collaborative Launches Youth Fellowship for Oakland General Plan

The Deeply Rooted Youth Fellowship is recruiting young leaders to help with community outreach and engagement for the Oakland General Plan update. Fellows will learn city planning concepts and tools and build leadership skills through hands-on work, including speaking at community meetings/events, hosting pop-ups, social media outreach, and more!

Meet Your Team

Team Members . . .

William Gilchrist, Director of Planning & Building

Monica Davis, Assistant Director of Planning & Building

Christopher Ragland, Deputy Director of Building

Joanna Winter, Planner IV, Strategic Planning Division

Annie He, Accela Program/Project Manager, Digital Division

Aaron Lehmer, Technical Communications Specialist, Digital Division

Shane Norris, Specialty Combination Inspector, Building Inspections Division

Khalilha Haynes, Planner III, Strategic Planning Division

Kubilay İnanlı, Planner I, Zoning Division


Planning & Building's Race and Equity Team (RET) includes members from every division of the Department who have completed or are completing the City's Advancing Racial Equity Academy (AREA) training and are helping reduce barriers to racial equity both inside the department and in our community-facing service and policy. Click on the button to the left to learn about all of our team members.

Banner art courtesy Favianna Rodriguez