2018 National Planning Conference

Monuments, Equality, History, Ethics

Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. CDT

Location: 222

CM | 1.25

Cost: Included in Registration

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC188146


  • How to evaluate the historic value and context of monuments .
  • How to propose appropriate responses to offensive monuments .
  • How to discuss this difficult issue with the public .


What to do with Confederate (and other) monuments is a timely, and timeless, question. How do we deal with those parts of our urban landscape that have a historic, art historic, and equity component? Is there a “balance”? Should equity be determinative? Can we reuse symbols of oppression and put them in dialogue with current (and, hopefully, improved) attitudes towards equality and social inclusion? This session will provide participants with a quick overview of the issue of potentially offensive monuments given by speakers who have thought deeply about it. However, the bulk of the session will be devoted to participants discussing among themselves these very questions. Using hypothetical situations with shifting factors, the small-group discussions will very quickly result in a nuanced understanding of this difficult topic.

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This session has been identified and peer-reviewed as significantly pertaining to inclusiveness and social justice.
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Session Speakers

Andrew Vesselinovitch, AICP
Houseal Lavigne Associates
Chicago, IL

Elizabeth Morton
Virginia Tech, National Capital Region
Blacksburg, VA

Mary Niall Mitchell
University of New Orleans
New Orleans, LA

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