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Planners Call for Deep Police Reforms

A letter signed by over 600 planners calls on the American Planning Association to advocate for fundamental police reforms, in other words, to defund the police.
August 9, 2020, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"A group of several hundred urban planners is calling for the largest U.S. planning organization to support defunding the police," reports Brentin Mock.

Eight authors originally wrote the letter, sending it to the American Planning Association on July 24 with 525 signatures. That total has increased to just under 650 signatures as of this writing.

"While this kind of reform may seem in the purview of criminal justice policymakers, the planners lay out in a letter to the American Planning Association how neighborhoods that were racially segregated by a range of planning policies have become further denigrated by police violence and harassment of Black people — and that planners have done little historically to help change this dynamic," explains Mock of the motivations of the letter. 

Mock provides examples from the letter for specifics of examples of how policing and planning  intersect:

One example they provide is Vision Zero initiatives, which aim to reduce or eliminate traffic fatalities. Despite their good intentions, the programs “rely on police-led enforcement and may inadvertently direct additional resources to police.” The letter also points to how transit planners have deployed transit police “who notoriously harass riders of color over fee evasion,”  and housing planners who’ve ignored how policing contributes to gentrification despite pledged support for affordable housing. 

Planetizen has been tracking the debate about policing as it relates to planning since the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis sparked protests around the country earlier this year. 

The calls for planners to be more effective allies for an anti-racist agenda continue.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, August 6, 2020 in Bloomberg CityLab
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