About Urban Habitat

Urban Habitat democratizes power and advances equitable policies to create a just and connected Bay Area for low-income communities of color. We confront structural inequities impacting historically disenfranchised communities, and through strategic partnerships increase power and capacity in low-income communities of color.


Democratizing power to enable historically disenfranchised communities to determine their own destinies.

Diversity in all its dimensions including race, class, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation, because our differences make us stronger.

Solidarity, because working together across class, race, and generations promotes power, community resilience, and collective action.

Sustainability to strengthen our communities for future generations by challenging the common origins of segregation, sprawl, and climate change.

Justice and equity to reverse the historic and ongoing oppression of low-income communities of color to ensure the well-being and collective prosperity of all Bay Area residents.

How We Do It

Urban Habitat develops infrastructure to support movement building and grassroots campaigns. The “power flower” below illustrates our work in relation to organizing and base-building.


The above is an adaptation of the “Power-Flower” framework graphic originally published in the report, California Health and Justice for All Power-Building Landscape: A Preliminary Assessment, prepared by USC Equity Research Institute (formerly Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE)) in collaboration with Health and Justice for All Power-Building Landscape Working Group.

Research and Legal

Provide data and analysis about the region’s shifting demographics and partner with allies to pursue legal action when necessary.


Comms, Cultural, and Narrative Change

Put race and class at the center of public policy decisions and reframe how decision-makers analyze land-use, housing, and transportation policies.

Our Take on State of the Region

Alliance and Coalitions

Provide policy analysis, advocacy, and strategic campaign support for regional coalitions and local grassroots partners.

Coalitions and Campaigns

Leadership Development

Increase the capacity and power of Bay Area leaders of color to advance equitable policies.


Organizational Development, Infrastructure, and Funders

Advocate for greater investments to increase advocacy and organizing capacity in places where there is an increase in low-income communities of color.


Advocacy and Policy

Analyze funding and planning decisions, and provide policy alternatives to equitalize public investments by race and class.

Win Policies



Architect and regional planner Carl Anthony founded Urban Habitat in 1989. He and other like-minded colleagues saw how the inequitable distribution of public funds and undemocratic decision-making disadvantaged low-income communities of color. Carl and Urban Habitat’s early supporters saw an urgent need to develop leaders of color who could address structural inequalities in regional land-use and transportation planning. Under Carl, Urban Habitat quickly became a leading figure in the environmental justice movement while pushing the mainstream environmental movement to confront issues of race and class. Urban Habitat made the case that environmental justice organizations should broaden their scope to include the impact of regional land-use, transportation, and housing decisions on their communities. Over decades, Urban Habitat has helped build multicultural leadership for sustainable development in the Bay Area, while simultaneously broadening the definition of sustainability to include equity and justice.

More about Urban Habitat