Recognizing the Achievements of Black Urbanists

Blogger and planners Pete Saunders is acknowledging black urbanists from all over the spectrum of civic involvement.

1 minute read

November 21, 2017, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Rebuild Foundation

Theaster Gates, founder and artist director of the Rebuild Foundation, talking at the 2008 Cultural Olympiad. | Andy Miah / Flickr

Pete Saunders is publishing a series of articles that focus on black urbanists. The latest article focuses on black urbanists working in local government, while previous articles focused on community activists and academics.

Back in October, Saunders wrote an introductory post to the series that lays out the need to push the discussion about black urbanism and black urbanists further than past efforts. The needs for Saunders's posts are multiple, including the lack of inclusion for the black community that worked to better cities prior to the back-to-the-city movement that launched in the late 1990s and continues to this day and the declining number of blacks living in urban environments (Saunders has written previously of the growing suburbanization of blacks in the United States.

Saunders also makes no secret of the fact that the series was inspired in response to Planetizen's list of "100 Most Influential Urbanists," published earlier this fall. That list included 17 people of color by Saunders's count, with six African-Americans on the list. We at Planetizen agree with Saunders that although number was a significant improvement over the previous list, created in 2009, the need to recognize the diverse and valuable contributions of many more black urbanists, and urbanists of all races and genders, persists.

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