A Call to Courage: An Open Letter to Canadian Urbanists

June 2020


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Social Equity

This article and online training encourages urbanists working in the Canadian context to respond to discussions of systemic oppression and anti-Black racism occurring across North America. The first part of the article is written in an open letter format, describing why urbanism is inextricably connected to social justice, and briefly mentions examples of how anti-Blackness is spatialized in cities. The author provides a list of tangible steps for urbanists to apply in their practice and professional work. A few of these steps are:

  • Acknowledge that urban design and planning is not neutral
  • Uplift and learn from urbanists who have already been working towards equity
  • Research untold place-based stories before, during, and after community engagement

The second part of the article provides an educational training tool describing how urbanists can develop an individual learning agenda. The article ends with a brief guide to equity-based, intersectional placemaking, a glossary of equity-based placemaking terms, and an annotated bibliography.