Urban Planners have a lot of power and access to decision making power, thus making urban planning political. Conventional planning theory will have us believe that planning must happen from a place of objectivity, yet planners are also participants in the ecology from which they are planning from. This webinar explores the ways in which planners can be advocates within the field of urban planning, and will highlight competencies needed to provide Technical Assistance rooted in Equity.

Questions we’ll examine:

  1. Where along the planning process do you find a need for advocacy?
  2. What are the main hindering factors to advocacy in urban planning?
  3. When does that urban planner get held accountable?
  4. How do you practice and sustain yourself when you are only asking for advocacy?
  5. What are examples of bottom-up approaches to challenging and leveraging power?
  6. What are skills/competencies needed to effectively advocate for marginalized communities within the planning process?

Meet the speakers:

Desiree’ “Dee” Powell is an Arlington, Texas native where she graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with her Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies and Masters in City & Regional Planning. She is an unconventional urban planner with the firm she founded and leads, DRBTS (Do Right By The Streets), which focuses on place keeping as a tool to implement temporary-to-permanent space activation projects in communities of color driven towards economic mobility and community sustainability. She specializes in educating and breaking down the complexities of urban planning elements within communities of color. Most (if not all) of her inspiration and drive in urban planning comes from the beauty of Black culture through music, places, streetwear, sneakers, activism, and Black migration.
An artist, storyteller, and urban design strategist of Jamaican descent, Courtney Morgan’s work redistributes power by using art as a social practice. Codesigned with vulnerable communities, Morgan’s civic-scale projects have engaged hundreds both on the street and in venues. These projects include creating space for designers who identify as other, through “Only Other Designers” and “Community Design Lab”, an an award winning youth-led environmental design engagement. Morgan has taught integrated design and design strategy at Parsons School of Design, where she is an AICAD Teaching Fellow. Courtney Morgan is the president and owner of SCRD, a design studio that uses design strategy to center and empower stakeholders to build thriving urban communities.
Jose Richard Aviles (Moderator) is a Transportation Analyst for the Othering and Belonging Institute. As part of the Community Power and Policy Partnerships team, they support government agencies and partners with community organizations by providing trainings, technical assistance, and evaluation support centering lived experience, vision, and self-determination of the communities most impacted by transit inequities. Aviles draws inspiration from their involvement with the Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles and participation in other social justice movements like marriage equality.

Reimagining Planning is a monthly series of public webinars that focuses on the edge of innovation in urban planning and policy. Traditionally Urban Planning has had a long legacy of harming communities of color, developing and implementing racist policies, and destruction of the built environment. This series openly critiques this current iteration of urban planning in the hopes of proposing new theories, strategies, and concepts that help us arrive at an iteration of the field where we all belong. We are interested in helping foster meaningful conversations among urban planners hungry for more and to engage with new audiences that have always been curious about urban planning but may not know what exactly do urban planners do.

July 11th
11:00AM - 12:30PM
Online Event