It Takes a Village to Make a City: Why We Need Equity in Urban Planning

FRI, JUL 17, 2020 (1:27)

To address the exclusion of people of color in urban planning that perpetuates and institutionalizes patterns of harm, MassINC has proposed a new practice called Joint Local Planning — community-centric and coordinated district, municipal, and regional planning — as a remedy for historically exclusive processes and inequitable outcomes. But what is community-centric planning, why do we need it and how is it done?

Monica Tibbits-Nutt of the 128 Business Council and Leah Bamberger of the City of Providence’s Office of Sustainability share with MassINC’s Dr. Tracy Corley and WGBH News Transportation Reporter Bob Seay how they have helped transform community engagement in urban planning across North America. They share examples of the way past planning efforts have created systems that marginalize Black, Indigenous, and people of color in cities large and small while describing their successes with bottom-up planning processes and outcomes. The group also discusses how COVID-19 has impacted planning efforts — especially in smaller, Gateway Cities — and why urban residents cannot wait for the end of the pandemic to take ownership of planning their neighborhoods, municipalities and communities.

This event is one of a series of TTOD Talks co-produced by the WGBH Network Forum and is based on the MassINC report, From Transactional to Transformative: The Case for Equity in Gateway City Transit-Oriented Development. To access the report, visit www.massinc.org/research/equity-report.

Image Credit: Pexels.com

+ BIO: Pol Tavares

Pol Tavares grew up in Providence, the youngest of three raised by a Dominican Mother. They’ve left providence for a little over a decade and returned in 2013. They’ve worked in criminal justice, education justice and currently are working in housing justice aside from being an organizer with the racial and environmental justice committee. Tavares uses they/them pronouns and work to sustain Inclusive and powerful spaces for queer, trans, black, indigenous, people of color.

+ BIO: Leah Bamberger

Leah Bamberger was appointed by Mayor Jorge O. Elorza the Director of Sustainability in April 2015. Leah brings a wealth of experience in municipal sustainability efforts. She previously managed the City of Boston’s citywide sustainability initiative, Greenovate Boston. In this role, she worked on policy and community engagement and led the development of the City’s 2014 Climate Action Plan. Prior to this position, Leah served as a consultant to a variety of local and regional governments and nonprofits in the northeast, supporting their climate and sustainability planning work.

The Sustainability Director’s responsibilities include identifying opportunities to reduce the City’s energy costs, working with community groups, residents, and businesses to implement the City’s first comprehensive sustainability action plan, transitioning residents to the Recycle Together program, and other projects. Under Mayor Elorza’s leadership, Leah has prioritized centering racial equity in this work, demonstrated by the launch of Equity in Sustainability Initiative in 2016 and the release of the Climate Justice Plan in 2019.

Leah has a B.A. from the College of Charleston in Political Science and Environmental Studies and a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She resides in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Providence.

+ BIO: Monica Tibbits-Nutt

Monica G. Tibbits-Nutt, AICP, LEED AP BD+C is the Executive Director of the 128 Business Council. Monica also recently completed her tenure on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board of Directors and as the Vice-Chair of the Fiscal Management and Control Board that oversaw the MBTA from 2015-2021.

Working in regional planning and transportation, Monica’s areas of specialty are transportation planning, urban design, and transit equity. In both her work and research, Monica is particularly interested in capitalizing upon every opportunity to better educate transportation stakeholders and the public about all aspects of the planning process.

As part of this focus on education, she serves as the Vice President of the non-profit Youth Engagement Planning (YEP!), which brings urban planning and community advocacy into K-12 environments. Monica also commits a significant portion of her time to mentorship through her roles as a member of the Board of Advisors to The Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, and, less officially, by making herself available to the students and young professionals she has met through guest lecturing and through her membership in the American Planning Association, the Transportation Research Board, and other professional associations.

Monica serves on the Board of Directors of WTS International and the WTS Foundation, which seeks to create a more inclusive and equitable transportation industry and provides scholarships to female-identifying professionals and students, respectively; and on the Board of Trustees of TransitCenter, which works to support, inform, connect and fund civic and public leaders working to truly make transit better.

+ BIO: Tracy A. Corley, PhD

Dr. Tracy Corley is the Director of Research and Partnerships at CLF, supporting scientific practices and partnerships across the organization. Tracy identifies areas where research and science can support active advocacy and litigation and also coordinates independent research related to climate change and environmental justice across New England. She brings experience in research, public policy, law, and conservation to her role and thrives on bringing people together to tackle the systemic issues that drive conservation and environmental justice.

Prior to joining CLF, Tracy served as the Transit-Oriented Development Fellow at MassINC, where she conducted research and convened stakeholders to promote equitable development in Massachusetts’ Gateway and regional cities. Her time at MassINC followed her mid-career graduate studies, when she researched the economic development potential of New England cities at the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, then split her time between Boston and the German Rhineland investigating informal work in Germany’s skilled trades and crafts sector. She also has lived in Seattle, Washington, where she conducted strategic planning and coordinated a participatory research program for formerly incarcerated workers at Seattle Jobs Initiative; founded two consulting firms that helped advance clean technologies, sustainable development, and energy efficiency; and advocated for inclusive economic development as Vice-Chair of Small Business for the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees. She has also worked as an architect and designer in Washington state and South Carolina.

Tracy holds a B.A. in Architecture from Clemson University and both an M.S. in Public Policy and a Ph.D. in Law and Public Policy from Northeastern University. She grew up on a farm in South Carolina, enjoys being out in nature, and believes that urban places can be regenerative for people and the planet. Outside of work, Tracy enjoys opera and museums, neighborhood bike rides with friends, and experiencing new places. She also writes, speaks, and teaches regularly.

+ BIO: Bob Seay

Bob Seay is the transportation reporter for WGBH News.

He formerly hosted Morning Edition for WGBH News, and has worked as a broadcast journalist for more than three decades. Before joining WGBH in October 2010, Bob was Morning Edition host at Rhode Island Public Radio and the director of community radio station WOMR in Provincetown. For more than 15 years, he was the news and public affairs director at WQRC in Hyannis covering Cape Cod and the islands. Bob has also worked as a host on WBUR.

Partner
MassINC
Series
TTOD "Transformative Transit-Oriented Development" Talks