Planners as Warriors

A few weeks prior to the election I was asked to facilitate the first Plan for All Safe Space. Plan for All is a sub-committee of the student governing body of the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP); its mission is to increase inclusivity, equity, diversity, and social justice within DCRP and the broader planning profession. The concept of a “Safe Space” emerged … Continue reading Planners as Warriors

Incorporating Immigrants’ On-the-Ground Knowledge and Lived Experiences into the Planning Process

A special post from participatory practitioner James Rojas Immigrants bring new, innovative urban planning ideas to this country based on their prior lived experiences, yet these ideas are rarely heard in an urban planning meeting or incorporated into zoning and plans. Most immigrants don’t attend public meetings. Many are busy struggling and often live in the shadows of our communities. Many may be too humble, or … Continue reading Incorporating Immigrants’ On-the-Ground Knowledge and Lived Experiences into the Planning Process

Injecting Social Justice into Local Government

On September 28th, Durham City Councilwoman Jillian Johnson and Mel Norton of Duke University’s Cook Center on Social Equity visited UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning to discuss with students and faculty the work of balancing social justice advocacy while serving in local government. Continue reading Injecting Social Justice into Local Government

Rap and the American City

At its genesis, Hip-Hop was a perverse art form breaking away from cultural norms and mainstream sounds. It’s vibrancy attracted people, it encompassed rapping, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti. The Godfather of Hip-Hop, Afrika Bambaataa, started this community through block parties in the Bronx as a way to unite young people through the medium of music. Furthermore, Lisa Alexander described hip-hop as a way for the … Continue reading Rap and the American City

Free Speech, Signs, and the City

The passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been dissected for its potential impact on litigious issues from campaign finance to abortion.  Yet one surely settled issue is the court’s June 2015 ruling on the limits of control a government may use to regulate signs.  In a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court found that the small town of Gilbert, Arizona exceeded its authority when … Continue reading Free Speech, Signs, and the City

The Public Face of the ARRA. Photo Credit: Rick Wilking/Reuters

Employment Equity & Transit Construction

There’s a narrative surrounding public spending, and transportation infrastructure and transit projects are no exception. Typically regarded as short-term economic stimuli to a local economy, transit projects provide quality jobs and are investments in the future. Despite the current political climate around public spending, these jobs are generally popular because they are geographically constrained and cannot easily be outsourced. This perception was recently reinforced with … Continue reading Employment Equity & Transit Construction