A Need for Just Environments

We are yet living in another moment of heartbreak that is both brutal and overwhelming. It is times like these where we need to advance current policies. We need to address the issue of the lack of representation, diversity, and inclusion in the planning field. Urban planning and architecture are professions that are dominated by privileged groups. Therefore, our built environments suffer from design injustices. We are tired of seeing unrepresentative fields. If the field is being practiced by people who don’t understand what it is like to be the minority, how will they be able to design just communities? How will the privileged group be able to understand that sometimes, in reference to Jane Jacobs, “eyes on the street” is seen as a threat to minorities. The Bloomberg City Lab article, “America’s Cities Were Designed to Oppress” mentions how developers want more policing, more security cameras, and more surveillance in communities of color to have more eyes on the street and feel safer yet they don’t understand that being a black person in America and having more police in the area does not necessarily imply safety. On the contrary, instead of having that sense of safety when the police are near, we fear for our lives. 


To work towards dismantling these injustices we need to start by teaching others what it means to be a minority and what it means to be privileged. But let’s not stop there. We have to take action in order to avoid repeating history because empathy is not enough anymore. The American Planning Association published the “Planning for Equity Policy Guide” where it discusses how to plan for just environments. We need to have design justice.  The Project for Public Spaces’ article “Placemaking When Black Lives Matter” mentioned that “persistent inequalities and decades of discrimination means a code of conduct ethics isn’t going to cut it. We need an actual politics of placemaking”. To create these changes let’s start by teaching and learning from each other’s experiences, let’s create representative communities, let’s create equitable policies and let's create just environments. We need to learn from past mistakes. 

Lee, Bryan. “How to Design Justice Into America's Cities.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 3 June 2020, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-03/how-to-design-justice-into-america-s-cities


Koh, Annette. “Placemaking When Black Lives Matter.” Project for Public Spaces , 22 June 2020, www.pps.org/article/placemaking-black-lives-matter.


“Planning for Equity Policy Guide.” American Planning Association, 4 June 2019, www.planning.org/publications/document/9178541/.








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