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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
Given the increasingly urban orientation of the world, how cities are shaped moving forward is critical. Socioeconomic disparities have long been named by communities facing marginalization. In 2020, this was compounded by the heightened visibility of systemic racism, particularly its impact on Black lives. The field of planning, specifically, is tasked with constructing our built environments and mediating our socioeconomic infrastructure through mechanisms like governance, land use, and funding. However, through ongoing processes of colonialism and racism, planning actually works to reinforce oppressive systems. The lack of diversity and critical interrogation within this field allows for the perpetuation of structural inequality and systemic injustice to play out in our cities. The absence of meaningful BIPOC leadership, institutional accountability, and accessible funding models further propagates urban injustice.
The collaborative presenting this session is currently working on a public art, history, and future-building initiative that challenges dominant narratives within our built environments (place names, monuments etc). In Canadian cities, still grappling with their history of colonialism and enslavement, these representations go beyond aesthetics as they perpetuate distorted truths. Their presence, and the value ascribed to them, negates the practices of resistance, reclamation, and placemaking as conceived and lived by BIPOC peoples. Some of the questions include: How would we honour place and histories if told from the perspectives of those pushed furthest to the margins? How would a reimagining of city symbols contribute to just urban futures? In what forms would these new “monuments” manifest?
This presentation intends to highlight the excellence of diverse BIPOC organizers, artists, and city-builders, as well as illuminate anti-oppressive tools, mechanisms, and frameworks related to (re)development, governance, funding, and policy, all important elements that enable economic development, sustainability, and healing.