#IAmPlanning: A New Generation of Planners and Activists

#IAmPlanning is a California Young Planners Group led initiative highlighting diversity and elevating social justice issues within the planning profession.

Founder Nina Idemudia, state coordinator of the California Young Planners Group, started this campaign in an effort to highlight diversity within the planning profession.

The social media and event-based campaign seeks to create a space for young planners and allies to connect and build relationships around common interests.

Social Media Campaign

All October long, we’re celebrating National Community Planning Month by asking young planners of all backgrounds why they chose planning as their profession.

Please use your platform of choice to generate buzz about the #IAmPlanning campaign and encourage your network of colleagues to participate. Here's how: 

 #IAmPlanning social media campaign. Graphic designed by Ana Espanola.

Live Events  

Throughout 2016, the California Young Planners Group hosted a series of in-person events meant to spur dialogue about the intersection of activism and planning. #IAmPlanning: Bridging the Gap between Planning and Activism event challenged planners to think critically about the social, economic, and environmental justice movements.  The conversation resulted with the shared vision that the future of the planning profession should reflect the communities we serve, address root causes of inequality, and empower residents to take an active role in creating a vision for their communities.  

A joint #IAmPlanning and Dialogo Series chapter discussion titled Investment without Displacement: the Complexities of Planning in Diverse Communities invited planners and community activists to discuss how housing, transportation and economic development influence gentrification and displacement in historically disinvested communities.  The panel was asked to provide solutions, resources, and tools to combat displacement in South Los Angeles.  

The consensus among attendees was planners must help build community power through education and engagement to ensure investment benefits, rather than displaces residents. The sentiment was echoed by panelist Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece-Harris Dawson who stated “The best planners are the planners who are activists.”

The event was sponsored by APA Los Angeles, Young Emerging Planners, Latinos and Planning, the Urban Rising Group and EIG Group.

The panel was composed of community organizers and policy makers, from left, Executive Director of Strategic Alliance for Just Economy (SAJE) Cynthia Strathmann PhD; City Planner for the Los Angeles Department of City Planning Lakisha Hull; Director of Public Policy and Research for the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department Claudia Monterrosa; and the Hon. Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Los Angeles city councilmember from the Eighth District. 

Get Involved

#IAmPlanning is a different way to engage a new generation of planners in the American Planning Association at the local, state, and national level. We challenge young planners in California and across the country to join the important discussion on social media or to host an in-person event with the energetic activists and planners of your community.

Top image:  Los Angeles Young Planners showcasing their reasons for joining the planning profession at the #IAmPlanning: Bridging the Gap Between Planning and Activism event. Photo by Kristen Gordon.

About the Author
Kristen Gordon has a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from UC Irvine and is currently a planning assistant at the Los Angeles Department of City Planning. Her work has focused on researching and implementing transportation projects in South Los Angeles. In her spare time, she enjoys attending concerts, reading, “brunching,” and hiking with her dog Brooklyn.

October 17, 2016

By Kristen Gordon