This Couldn’t Have Happened at a Better Time

Tamika Camille Gauvin's picture

The United States has been reborn. The election of Barack Obama has put – or reintroduced – the United States to the world stage as a beacon of hope for all people. We have proven that we believe and embody the ideals of equality and equal opportunity and that these ideals are the right of every citizen and not just a few. More importantly, this election is a ray of hope for our nation. We advanced the fight against racism to elect the first black president of the United States. Barack Obama's election also gives hope to Americans as we witness and feel the stinging affects of the economic and housing crises, the energy crisis and two wars.

Today, I could not wait to go to my Gateway Planning class because I knew we would discuss the election and what this could mean from a planning perspective. In my opinion, this is a pivotal moment in planning history. The need for planning might extends past the urban arena to the national one. Americans across this nation in cities, suburbs, and rural areas have been touched by – no – slammed by the multiplicity of crises – economy, housing, energy and war. What was the general consensus? This election is definitely one for the history books and celebration is in order; however, celebration is tempered by the reality of the work that lies ahead.

Questions abound about what will happen next. Will the momentum that brought change in the election process suddenly wane? What does Obama's election mean for the economy, the housing crisis, and exit from Iraq? I question whether the political process, which Barack Obama opened up to the American people during the campaign, will remain open. In class, we have talked a great deal about the political nature of planning, planning's failure to include citizens in the planning process and the subsequent injustices and inequalities that these citizens encounter. Witnessing this new administration tackle the many problems that we face, with what promises to be a fresh, new approach will be a planning education next to none.

Tamika Camille Gauvin is a candidate for the Master of City Planning from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at M.I.T.

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