Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Urban Planning with Dr. Kendra Smith

On Friday, November 13, 2020, the Department of Planning & Landscape Architecture hosted Kendra Smith, PhD, director for community engagement at the University of Houston College of Medicine, to lead the workshop, “The Challenge and the Opportunity: Enhancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Urban Planning.” The workshop was a collaborative effort with the Wisconsin Student Planning Association, Urban and Regional Planning Alumni Relations Council (ARC), Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association, and UW–Milwaukee Department of Urban Planning, with support from the University Lectures Kemper Knapp Fund.

During the first hour, Dr. Smith described racialized practices in U.S.-based planning, including policies that have historically supported racial segregation. She underscored the implications for contemporary planning practices and organizations, particularly with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion. During the second hour, participants discussed four questions: (1) What is the challenge that we face as planners, (2) What is the future for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession, (3) What is the future for diversity, equity, and inclusion for planning outcomes in communities, and (4) What is the future for institutionalizing equitable development and inclusive community engagement? Over 100 people participated in the event, noting the meaningful conversations, positive group dynamic, and desire to commit to a continuous effort to learn the habits of mind and practical actions that help planners create meaningful diversity and actively work toward equity and inclusion within their organizations and planning outcomes.

The Department continues to plan for future events around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field and will share details for any future events on our website.