Elevating Black Voices in the Planning Canon
Inspired by recent attendance at the Black in Design Conference, Daphne Lundi writes about how the work of Black urbanists is "inexplicably and inexcusably absent from the planning canon."
After noting that Black history and experience is "deeply interwoven with urban planning praxis," through policies like redlining, suburbanization, and transportation planning, Lundi issues a call to action to planners:
As planners, we help shape the built environment — and not just through our plans. Without a full understanding of the history of a place and our profession, we run the risk of reproducing systems and methods that further deepen inequality. A planning education that focuses solely on a few predominantly white heroic figures is incomplete and unethical. It doesn't tell the whole story; it prevents us from sharing fuller and richer stories. We must learn to think beyond our traditional planning narratives.
The Black in Design Conference is a biennial event organized by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design's African American Student Union. As Lundi notes, the Black in Design Conference is part of a growing number of organizations are "shining light on Black urbanism and Black experiences in the built environment."