Urban Planning’s Dirty Laundry

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clothesline event in Temple Buell Hall on Thursday April
24th. The goal was to create a display of the good, the bad
and the ugly done by planners and policy-makers to affect
people’s lives and communities through history. Planning
happens at many levels; participants sought to bring to the
fore the inequality that is wide spread in planning practice.
We hung laundry with phrases and descriptions of planning
and policy decisions, programs, and projects from the
past and present for all to see.
Students and faculty from the Department of Urban
and Regional Planning participated in the event. The
clotheslines were displayed in the atrium of the building
for two hours, and participants had the opportunity to
write and display their thoughts on T-shirts, pants and
other clothes. Examples of the phrases used were “Sundown
towns,” “Using parks to promote racist drugenforcement
policy,” “Bad planning affects good people,”
“Urban renewal,” “Red lining,” among others.
We want to dispel the myth of the benevolent planner
and demystify the results of harmful policy-making. Community
decline is not a natural process but is the result of
often racist and gender blind planning and policy making,
such as redlining, restrictive covenants, boarding schools
for Native Americans, and anti-immigrant ordinances.
Planning has a lot of dirty laundry and it is time we air it
out and clean it up!
The Planners Network, an international association of
professionals, activists, academics, and students involved
in physical, social, economic, and environmental planning
in urban and rural areas, promotes fundamental change in
our political and economic systems. We hope this will be
one of many events to follow. Anyone can join our listserve
and participate in activities. If you have ideas for events
you can make suggestion through the list or during meetings,
which are organized via the list.
For more information see: www.urban.uiuc.edu/student_
orgs/PNC/ or contact sortize@uiuc.edu or rserpa2@

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