Knot Studio is providing services to integrate Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) principles into the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the Regional Habitat Connectivity Working Group (RHCWG), part of the Intertwine Alliance. Since 2016, RHCWG has coordinated a partnership of over 40 public agencies, academic institutions, parks districts, non-profits, consultants, watershed councils, and community members to support habitat connectivity in the Portland-Vancouver region. A significant accomplishment has been modeling connectivity patterns based on surrogate species, prioritizing conservation and stewardship investment accompanied by outreach, education, and policy activities. In 2020, the group paused work on the SAP to audit their work processes from a JEDI perspective and retained the Knot Studio and MultiCultural Collaborative team based on their expertise in spatial analytics and community engagement with an environmental focus.
Through a series of internal workshops at various levels of RHCWG committees and sub-committees, the team articulated a standard set of terms, conducted a workshop analyzing the impact and influence of stakeholders, and created a series of questions known as a Racial Equity Lens for the group to employ internally. Simultaneously, Knot Studio developed a dataset called the Community Vulnerability Index, which used custom geoprocessing to allocate demographic factors from the latest decennial Census. This dataset can be integrated into RHCWG’s modeling efforts and used to focus community engagement efforts and connectivity actions in neighborhoods where the benefits of connectivity are most needed. Final recommendations, including a framework for community engagement planning, were presented in an extensive report with which RHCWG can proceed to edit its Strategic Action Plan and conduct the first steps towards the next phase of the community engagement strategy.