Literature Review: Part 1 – The Overtly Racist Practices of the Urban Planning Industry


The goal of this literature review is to discuss the immensely adverse impacts that urban planning has embedded in Black communities across the United States, while examining the history and current context of the problem, and researching community-led responses.

It’s no secret to the profession that urban planning has had a direct hand in some of the most egregious acts of dividing people to promote inequality. Many books and university programs document the history of segregation, zoning, and government policy and its impacts on poverty and communities of color. Planning scholars and students are now taught to plan equitably, think deeper about creating environments that encourage diversity, and to serve a generally nobler cause.

What hasn’t been explored is how the profession can serve as a restorative practice to the people that it wronged the most. Throughout this review, literature will be analyzed to extract the reasons that practices of the future could and should reach deeper into the intentionality of restoration of the injustices of the past. Through accepting the responsibility of its crimes, understanding the compounding impacts that exist for African Americans today, and providing greater platforms for community-led responses to today’s complexities, the industry of urban planning can be a valuable lever to the reparations that Black communities are owed historically and currently in the United States.

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