A Response on De-Radicalizing Planning

Radical: fundamental; extreme; favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions; advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs. –Merriam-Webster Dictionary While I’ve been a strong advocate for change, I’ve honestly never really thought of myself, my work, or my beliefs as radical. I may protest wrongs or practice ‘do unto others as I would have them do unto … Continue reading A Response on De-Radicalizing Planning

One Year Later: Reflections on the Habitat III Conference

Every 20 years since 1976, the United Nations has convened an international “Habitat” conference to develop a unified global vision for the future of urban development. These conferences provide opportunities for policymakers, practitioners, and civic leaders to come together to exchange knowledge and best practices to help inform more effective urban development. And like other counterpart UN conferences, they have invited non-technical actors the opportunity … Continue reading One Year Later: Reflections on the Habitat III Conference

Charm City Grit: Change in Baltimore Starts with the Community

Baltimore is a city of contradictions. Within its boundaries, one can find self-avowed social justice warriors who are determined to undo centuries of injustice in the city. One can also find people who have never left the sanctuary of whiteness of the Inner Harbor. Continue reading Charm City Grit: Change in Baltimore Starts with the Community

Science Fiction and Planning

As planners, we often engage in visioning processes with communities to identify and elaborate on the kinds of communities we want to plan. Our vision plans build an image of what could be in order to inform the agenda, strategies and policies we then develop and implement as planners. Vision planning can be an imaginative space to respond to the needs and desires of a … Continue reading Science Fiction and Planning

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

After the Flood, the Decision to Rebuild or Leave Permanently

As I write this, residents from flooded neighborhoods in eastern North Carolina are sitting in crowded high school gyms, staying at area motels, and bunked with family and friends. While Hurricane Matthew threw high winds and storm surge at coastal communities, devastating flooding came to inland communities. Rivers bulged over their banks, entering homes and covering roads in a growing mass of moving water. When … Continue reading After the Flood, the Decision to Rebuild or Leave Permanently

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

Selections from La Ciudad Actual

In 2014 and 2015 I spent nearly a year in Mexico City as a Fulbright National Geographic Fellow, exploring the city’s feathered edges. While the anchor of Mexico’s capital, the Distrito Federal (or Federal District) has around nine million residents, the larger metropolitan zone of the Valley of Mexico is home to more than twenty one million people. The sixty municipalities surrounding the DF form … Continue reading Selections from La Ciudad Actual

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