Let's Work Together!

Toward a More Equitable, Diverse and Inclusive Profession

Jun 08, 2021

Planning is a profession in constant connection with the built form. As practitioners, planners are designing and building spaces that meet the needs of people from all walks of life; however, there is a strong need for more cultural awareness and consideration within planning processes and practices that enable cities and public spaces to be safe and accessible places for all.

Worldwide we continue to see tragedies brought upon racialized people and communities. In the summer of 2020, the Black Lives Matter Movement sparked the re-emergence of a civil rights uprising and in recent months we have seen the “Stop Asian Hate” movement emerge after countless attacks on the Asian community. Further, efforts toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples continues to be a pressing issue for planners. Planners need to be fully equipped and open to learning and expanding their understandings regarding the significance of culture and heritage.

Below is a select list of resources that can act as a great starting point in your journey in building more cultural awareness and competency. It is important that the general public and professionals in the realm of urbanism explore tangible resources and incorporate them into their practice. It is also extremely important to acknowledge many urbanists who have been and continue to spearhead equity and inclusion initiatives within the planning profession.

Twitter handles to follow - @blackurbanist (Kristen Jeffers), @DrDesThePlanner, @communityPlanTO (CP Planning), @blackspaceorg, @planning_black (Black Planning Project), @JamillaMohamud @TamikaButler, @Jay_Pitter, @ULIToronto @CAPYoungPlan(Commonwealth Association of Planners), @CANURB (Canadian Urban Institute),

Resources - Jay Pitter’s Call to Courage & the Engaging Black People and Power Publication which is accessible on the Canadian Urban Institute website; webinars held by Urban Land Institute

Articles - Whose Streets Black Streets (Amina Yasin), Anti- Black Racism in the Livable Cities and Canada (Jamilia Mohamud); Spring 2021 Issue of Plan Canada on Social and Racial Equity.  

Books - Subdivided (Jay Pitter), Seeking Spatial Justice (Soja), The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness ( Alexander M), White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide (Anderson, C), White Fragility (DiAngelo, R), How to be an Antiracist (Kendi, I.), Policing Black Lives (Maynard, R), So you want to talk about race (Oluo, I), Me and White Supremacy (Saad, L. F)

Courses - Indigenous Canada (University of Alberta)

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but rather a few suggestions to get you started! Continue to explore, discover, and share resources with your colleagues. Have something to add to the list? Share in the comments below.  

Selam Eyob is an MES-Urban Planning graduate candidate with the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. Her interests are within equity and community planning with a focus on cultural conservation, as well as ethical and community-centered revitalization. She works at the intersection of public health, placemaking, and urban planning. Connect with Selam on Twitter @SelameyEyob or on Linked In!
Paying it forward through knowledge sharing and community investment, along with Selam's knowledge contribution, a donation has been made by Your Planning Career to the Black Health Alliance. The Black Health Alliance is a community-led registered charity working to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada.