Carlton Eley Named 2021 Sojourner Truth Fellow

Carlton Eley, the regional equity initiative manager at the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission in Dayton, Ohio, joins Taubman College as the urban and regional planning program’s 2021 Sojourner Truth Fellow. Also the president and founder of The Eley Group LLC, a community planning, research, education, and facilitation services firm, Eley is an accomplished expert on equitable development.

The Sojourner Truth Fellow annually engages scholars and reflective practitioners who bring into the college rigorous attention to issues of race and ethnicity as they relate to the theory and practice of urban and regional planning. The 2020 Sojourner Truth Fellow, Jane Fran Morgan, is a Detroit-based planning and evaluation consultant.

Eley served from 1998 to 2018 in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where he expanded the socialization boundaries of the EPA to accommodate equitable development as a place-based solution. He was the first urban planner hired by EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice.

He also has been an advocate for social equity within the urban planning profession by serving as chair of the American Planning Association’s (APA) Social Equity Task Force. He re-energized APA’s focus on social equity by publishing a Planning Advisory Service Memo in March 2017 that was released to APA’s 45,000 members.

Eley has participated in the Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowship in Public Policy, and has served on community advisory service teams in the United States and abroad. He has managed national workshops, coordinated national recognition programs, conducted community technical assistance, and published multiple articles that explore the intersection of equity and community planning.

As the Sojourner Truth Fellow, Eley will participate in a series of remote events throughout the winter semester, including online public lectures on February 8 and 22 and a student-led public forum on March 8. More details will be posted on the Taubman College events website in the coming weeks.

In addition to these three public events, students will have an opportunity to interact with Eley in a more casual setting for professional advice.

“I’m delighted that Carlton will be joining us, and I look forward to engaging with him and the deep professional experience he brings to questions of social equity and the built environment,” said Joe Grengs, chair of the urban and regional planning program and an associate professor.