Literature Review: Part 2 – Influential Urban Planning Literature Lacks Revolutionary Rhetoric


The Most Influential Urban Planning Literature Has Been Indirect in Assuming the Responsibility of Restoring Equity for Black Communities and Sharing the Need to Change the Process

The profession of urban planning has struggled to fully grasp the transgressions of its sins, which is reflected upon diving into the most influential writings of the industry. This may be fueled by white guilt and an inability to empathize with Black and Brown people, as the industry is predominantly white (81%) and male (60%) (Owens). It could also be that the 20 most influential planning books are written by white authors, with only two of the 20 written by women, as ranked by Planetizen, an online planning news website. Furthermore, one of the books in the top 20 is written by Frederick Law Olmstead Jr., the segregationist mentioned earlier (“Top 20 Urban Planning Books (Of All Time)”). In order to truly change the dynamics of this industry, an uncomfortable, yet necessary reckoning must occur. Urban planning has danced around the issues of inequity that it has created, while celebrating the works of the past.

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