Confronting Urban Design’s Diversity Crisis With a Return to Black Places / by An Huynh

An important read on the race and planning in academia and practice. What have we been missing without an African-American and other minority presence in the design and planning fields?

Full article here:

For Roberts, a sense of place, especially for African-Americans, is less about permanent residency and more about diaspora.

“If you are to interrupt this space with a pipeline, a new freeway, clear-cutting — not only have you done something unpleasant and interrupted a sense of place, you’re interrupting people’s ability to have a communal identity.”

Roberts says architects and planners are not trained to tap into constituencies that are hard to locate.

“Even though there may be 200 people who care about the area and still own land or have affiliations, they’re not going to be there, so planners are not going to see them,” she says.

Roberts points to professionals in the neighboring disciplines of archaeology and cultural anthropology, whose methods embrace a more complex definition of citizenship and stakeholders.

“We can learn from them,” she says.