by Treno Morton, Climate Engagement Coordinator, Between the Bridges
Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Canadian Institute of Planners Planning Conference in Halifax—a transformative experience that expanded my understanding of urban planning and its impact on underrepresented communities. In this blog post, I’ll share the valuable lessons I learned, the enjoyable aspects of the conference, and the pressing need for action to address historical inequities, particularly concerning affordable housing for African Nova Scotian (ANS) and BIPOC individuals.
A Journey of Learning and Growth
The conference was an enlightening journey filled with engaging workshops, thought-provoking discussions, and networking opportunities with experts and fellow enthusiasts. Check out the CIP’s upcoming events here. The diverse perspectives shared by speakers fostered an intellectually stimulating atmosphere, leaving me with a sense of fulfillment and a deeper appreciation for urban planning’s complexities.
Acknowledging Historical Challenges
Despite the enjoyable experience, it’s essential to recognize the historical challenges faced by underrepresented groups within the planning profession. Affordable housing emerged as a pressing issue in the mayor’s address. However, there remains a disconnect between discussing these issues at conferences and implementing concrete solutions that address the real, present needs of ANS and BIPOC individuals.
The lack of diversity in conference attendees raises questions about accessibility and representation for individuals from marginalized communities. Many people of colour may not attend such events because of cost or prioritizing their resources, limiting their participation and influence in shaping equitable urban planning practices.
Turning Words into Action
Addressing affordable housing and other pressing issues requires more than just discussions and speeches. Concrete action is necessary from policymakers, institutions, and the community at large. It’s crucial to actively listen to and involve those most affected in decision-making processes to create comprehensive solutions that cater to the diverse needs of our city.
The Call for Inclusivity in CIP Caucus
It is worth noting that CIP has a majority all-white Caucus, emphasizing the urgency of diversifying the voices and perspectives shaping urban planning policies. As an ANS individual myself, I feel a deeper connection to the need for equitable representation, as it directly impacts the communities I belong to.
The CIP Planning Conference in Halifax was a remarkable experience that provided valuable insights into the world of urban planning. While celebrating the enjoyable aspects of the event, we must also confront the historical inequities and take action to address pressing issues, especially concerning affordable housing for ANS and BIPOC individuals.
Together, by actively challenging systemic barriers, amplifying underrepresented voices, and advocating for inclusive policies and practices, we can create cities that reflect the needs and aspirations of all individuals, irrespective of their background. Embracing equity in urban planning is not an option; it is a responsibility that each of us must shoulder to build a better, more just, and inclusive future for our communities. Let’s turn words into action and work together towards a more equitable and compassionate urban landscape.
Abigail Moriah wrote in 2020 “Why is Urban Planning So White?” https://spacing.ca/toronto/2020/08/25/why-is-urban-planning-so-white/
A view of the topic from the USA “Whiteness and Planning in America”: https://www.planning.org/blog/9203853/whiteness-and-planning-in-america/
“Pandemic patios and “flat white” urbanism”: https://www.cip-icu.ca/getmedia/24aff5ee-8307-4d97-bf47-deb535afde81/Pandemic_Patios_PlanCanada_Winter2020.aspx