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Poll results: Separate but Equal?

Voters
35. You may not vote on this poll
  • Reparations and race, gender, and SO based laws now!

    0 0%
  • We have a long way too go - Affirmitive action is still needed.

    7 20.00%
  • We need to move on and start that "Melting Pot" back up.

    23 65.71%
  • I have another theory completely!

    5 14.29%
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Thread: Separate but Equal?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Separate but Equal?

    Wollongong
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    Land use strategies for minority communities, women and seniors???
    Thanks to everyone who reads and replys to this message.

    I am looking for land use strategies for inclusion in our NEW Comprehensive Plan for minority communities, women and seniors. I am specifically looking for non-programatic strategies, items that would encourage greater quality of life assets for the above groups and can aid in how and where they may work, shop, recreate, live and seek critical services.

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    2002-01-16 2:09 PM
    Dan Tasman
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    Moderator's note - replies to this message should answer the OP's inquiry, and not be intended to stir up a debate or make an ideological statement. Let's leave the opinions to Planning Polemic or one of the other forums.

    Thanks.

    OK, the post has been copied and placed in a different area for debate. If I read Dan correctly he is worried that answers to the request posed by Wollongong would turn in to a debate on the practice of separating groups out for special attention in our land use planning processes.

    Why don’t I go first? I don’t necessary agree with treating people differently because of the characteristics of their birth. However even I, a grumpy old conservative, can recognize that certain classes of citizens have not only been underserved, but have been downright run over by the planning process, among others, in the past. I also recognize that certain areas have an ethic, religious or other character about them. For instance a China Town, an Irish Catholic neighborhood and even a Fillmore District and so on… But here is where you have to stand up and chooses a side. Do you foster these separations by allowing certain activities that are not good for anyone just because a group wants them? You’ll end up having different standards for every group that declares itself to be in someway different. Or do you commit to the concept of we are all humans and are all equal until proven otherwise?

    My belief is this: Plan for everyone. Treat everyone as a human being worthy of your best and the community’s best. When you start separating people out and telling them that you think they are different – you institutionalize discrimination - and that is never right. It is the harder path to a better future – but ultimately the only one that will work.

    The ADA is good example of this in practice. It says we recognize that some of our people are disabled. So we are going to make an effort to make all places accessible. (Some more successful than others) We are not going to put up a separate – but accessible city hall, library or church. We are going to include you in all walks of the community’s life. The ADA works on this principle and I believe it is the right thing to do. The ADA was in part brought to you by a grumpy old conservative by the name of Bob Dole.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    EG is right of course. Let me ask a basically rediculous question first, and I do not mean to pick on the author Wollongong, but on all in our profession: Why do we talk like that that? "Non-programmatic strategies," "quality of life assets," "critical services"...Its one of the reasons the profession has an ongoing identity crisis, by talking in planners speak no one understands us. Heck, I am a planner and am not sure what those phrases mean.

    But on to the bigger notion.

    I may be way off here but why should the planning strategy be fundamentally different for seniors or minority groups or woman? Walkable safe streets, affordable and diverse housing choices, individual property rights, sustainable development (now I just threw that in to make sure you were paying attention) quality schools, places to play and work and shop etc....doesn't the community as a whole desire these things?

    The Comprehensive Plan should be a guide...not a predictor of future growth.

    I realize there may be more to it than that, but I do not support the growth of these special interest groups in APA.

    If the initial author could clarify the request, it might be easier to understand the intent. Is there going to be a special section of the Plan entitled "Women, Seniors, and Minority Groups"? That is insulting.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I left a reply under the original thread, but let me add some more. I agree with the others. How much can realistically be accomplished through planning? We can perhaps optimally site land uses, offer regulatory control or encouragement, and accommodate needs such as handicapped accessibility, but how much more? I also agree with El Guapo in saying that we should not have alternate standards for different ethnic groups.

    Women, minorities, seniors... a couple of years back there was a big debate over the creation of gay/lesbian planning group within APA. I am not making any judgement for or against anybody's lifestyle choice, but is there really a "gay" planning in the same contect as small town planning, transportation planning, etc.?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Well maybe...

    Women, minorities, seniors... a couple of years back there was a big debate over the creation of gay/lesbian planning group within APA. I am not making any judgement for or against anybody's lifestyle choice, but is there really a "gay" planning in the same contect as small town planning, transportation planning, etc.?
    Please do not toss out softballs like that. El Guapo is so tempted to make light of the concept of "gay planning." Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    Dan, I want credit for not running with this one!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    El Guapo, Come over to the dark side...

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Re: Well maybe...

    El Guapo wrote:
    Please do not toss out softballs like that. El Guapo is so tempted to make light of the concept of "gay planning." Not that there is anything wrong with that.
    As a somewhat pragmatic liberal, I hae struggled with the idea of "black planning," "women's planning" or "gay planning." As Michael Stumpf wrote, I can't think of that in the same context as small town planning, resort area planning, and so on.

    "Black planning?" The issues discussed on the Planning and the Black Community Division Web site don't seem any different than those faced by planners as a whole, only they have the word "black" added as a modifier.

    The "Planning and Women" division's primary function seems to be networking and support, not some sort of specific land use or environmental issue that affects women more than men. There's a lot of the usual "safe space" rhetoric common with women's groups, as if associating with male planners is somehow dangerous. A quote from an article about a women's student planning organization reads:

    "High on the list were employment discrimination, gender-based pay discrimination, and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Other significant issues included work-place flexibility, management challenges, career advancement and "the glass ceiling.""

    Maybe, as an oppressive white male planner, I'm wearing blinders, but I have seldom heard about discrimination within the planning profession. If anything, it goes both ways; for every man that benefits by the rare "good 'ol boys club" out there, there's a man who didn't land a job that he was more than qualified for because of a quota.

    "Gay planning?" The GALIP site highlights normal planning projects that just happen to be in gay enighborhoods. What's the difference between new urbanism in Provincetown versus new urbanism in Wichita, aside from the fact that "The Manhole" or "Emma's" in Provincetown probably plays better dance music than "T.J. McO'Flaherty's Tavern and Bar" or "Three Dogs New American Grill" in Wichita? There was no mention of land use issues I can think of that my be gay specific, such as zoning for bath houses.

    Dan's conclusion:

    1) "Special issues" that affect certain traditionally unempowered groups actually affect the community as a whole. "Black planning" deals with land use issues related to poverty and class, something afffecting lower income whites and Hispanics as well. "Gay planning" deals with gentrification, from the standpoint of those doing the gentrifying.

    2) APA social group specific chapters deal not with studying planning issues that are unique to that group. Instead, they serve as social groups. Nothing wrong with that, really -- but I'd have more respect for them if they were honest, and acknowledged themselves as such.

    Dan's predictions:

    1) Before 2005, there will be a "Planning and the Hispanic" community chapter. It'll serve as a social group, despite some planning issues unique to Hispanics such as a different perception of what is considered a nuisance use, colonias, and "culture clashes" in midwestern agricultural communities.

    2) A group of conservative planers will band together, and attempt to form the "Conservative Planners Community." The concept will be slammed, derided as a "good 'ol boys club for whiney white guys."
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    "Gay Planning"

    "Conservative Planners Community"

    I await the comments of El Guapo. Come, take a bite of the apple...

  8. #8
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Must Fight URGES to Comment!

    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.

  9. #9
    Member Mary's avatar
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    When I was a student I went to one planning women thing. One of the other students asked the speakers what kind of sexual discrimination they had faced. One speaker answered that her boss had told her to go pitch a client because she looked nice today. The other resonces were non-existant or equally useless. (in my opinion). At this point I stopped paying much attention and have never gone back to a meeting of said kind again.

    Now I do know of an office where men have been told not to do things that the women are expected to do because it's a job for "the girls" but on the whole my responce is "uggg can we get any more rediculous" Sexism, racism, etc are real but lets deal with it when it IS real and not spend our lives hunting for it and jumping at shadows.

    I've said before that planning directors seem to be significantly more male than female and I would like to see that change. But I see little use for fragmenting the planning community over racism and sexism... or any other bias for that matter. The issues are the same. If problems arise lets address them with the entire community. I know a number of white men who are just as bothered by these problems as black women.

    And I agree with Dan planning issues of poverty are rather color blind. The fact that more of the poor are one ethnic group than another is a different kind of social problem and discussing it in issolation will not make it go away. Perhaps it makes it worse. That I don't know.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Re: Must Fight URGES to Comment!

    El Guapo wrote:
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    El Guapo must not say things that are politically incorrect.
    etc..

    El Guapo..

    come on.. you know it's sssssssuuuuuuuper!

    All kidding aside, I cannot see how gay planning, women planning, or anything of that nuture can really be useful. I have to agree with Mary and found those meetings tended to be a pity party of sorts. I'm not for that, if you don't wanted to be treated differently then don't section yourself off as different and complain about it.

    But that's just my little opinion-
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  11. #11
          Downtown's avatar
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    I agree with Dan, in that the racial/lifestyle/gender specific subdivisions of APA are more for socialization than any real major differences in serving planning needs. And as much as I hate to admit it, I think that not having a y chromosome has provided a small advantage when applying for jobs. I think that when I am discriminated against, it is because I look so young (still getting id-ed for r rated movies) than because of my gender, and it is coming from the public, not from my white male co-workers.

    And I second Mary's whole posting.

  12. #12

    Separate but Equal & Women's Planning Groups

    While I do agree with the consensus regarding the ineffectiveness of attempting to socially engineer physical planning, I was amazed at the one sided nature of the discussion of women and minority sub-groups of professional organizations. I am a member of the Oregon Women in Planning group, a socially oriented professional organization. While being a forum for networking, I have never been to a session that even remotely came close to being a sob session. I am truly sorry that this has been the experience of others.

    The Women in Planning group of Oregon APA, has a formal meeting with a speaker once a quarter and other socially oriented occassions throughout the year. We have several men who attend our meetings and have been able to make connections with other women's professional organizations. This allows us access other professionals such as engineers and landscape architects whose points of view we may not come into contact with otherwise.

    I felt it was important to post this message so that others who have never been to such a meeting will know that there are at least two sides to the story. While some people may not feel comfortable in groups that cater to one type of person or another, many others who may be overwhelmed in anonymous settings such as the National Convention, are able to make social and professional connections when involved in a group where they have something in common with the other attendees. Granted, being a woman does not necessarily mean that you have something in common with the other women in the room, but it is a place to start.

    At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I also have to add that the characterization of such gruops as a bunch of people who get together to talk about their problems is a provincial view. Because the group is targeted at a segment of the population other than white males does not mean that the group or members are against white men, or are getting together to vilify them. I also do have to say that turning a discussion that was intended to be about planning for speical interests into a session for bashing professional groups targeted at women and minorities shows a bias in the people who tend to post. This is the bias that I am trying to counteract by posting this message.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Tammy:

    I think all of us who post here appreciate your response and perspective. I can support these particular special interest groups when the intent is what you describe--social, networking, professional development.

    My comments oppose the notion that minority or special interest groups require planning strategies totally distinct from the greater community whole. Thats all. With the APA groups however, I get the impression that the groups are organized because they do in fact believe that we should plan differently for minority groups than we do for everybody else. And I think that with few exceptions, that philosophy is wrong from a physical planning perspective.

    gkm

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    OK I'll take the plunge ----

    I'll be a bit UN-PC. To start, I agree with Mary and Texas Planner. I will go one further and say that these "special interest" groups don't belong as a formal part of the planning organization. Lump them all under "Sociology of Planning" and be done with it. What's next? Mental Illness in Planning (MIP), Wife Beaters that Plan (WBP), Falun Gong in Planning? STOP THE INSANITY!

    UPDATE TO THIS POST: For clarification purposes, I am NOT infering that GALIP or Blacks in Planning are comparable to mental illness. Don't even go there.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I'll join in...

    It seems we have mostly topical groups (ex., economic development, small town and rural planning, transportation, etc.) in APA. These focus on a particular aspect of the planning profession. More recently, some groups have been created that do not necessarily focus on an aspect of planning so much as they provide planners with a particular trait(s) a place to come together (ex., women, gays, etc.).

    Personally, I have no objection to this and think that if, as Tammy implies, some people in the group feel more comfortable interacting with others of their kind, then some good comes from it. Of course, it would be far better if we all felt comfortable in any group of our professional peers.

    I think there is a question, though, whether these "social" groups should be considered of the same type as the more topically-aligned groups within APA. I don't have the answer, but I'll bet it is an interesting debate.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Of course the cynic in me might think that more specialty groups in APA mean greater dues....

    Just like all those aicp-tested planners on another thread besides themselves regarding the testing...AICP has no intention of not letting as many people as possible in as is evidenced by the yearly increasing passing rates. More AICP's means more dues for an organization who can now say we have x many more people.

    But its Friday. So I'll stop being negative.

  17. #17
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    We've posted and debated our thoughts. I think it might be worthwhile to have a GALIP representative post their thoughts here. I'm good friends with one of the GALIP founders; I'll see if I can make contact this weekend.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  18. #18
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Is there a Charter document...

    ...for GALIP that is posted somewhere? That should describe the nature of the group. I have hunch it is an excuse to meet others for social activities. We planners are a randy bunch.

  19. #19
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Why I REFUSE to join AICP.

    The Planner's Responsibility to the Profession and to Colleagues:

    7) A planner must strive to increase the opportunities for women and members of recognized minorities to become professional planners.


    Does anyone see a problem with this except me? I refuse to do as this says, and I will not "fake it" to get certified. Why should I strive to increase planning opportunities for anyone, and even if I were to do so, why should I base it on what package you have twixt your legs or the tint of your skin? This society has long had a serious problem with inequality, but to try and solve it, the pendulum has swung to the absurd! To try and get equal rights, they got it all wrong...

    I guess being the "white guy" makes life easy? Sure... try my life on for size. Going to school I watched people less qualified receive grants and scholorships based *solely* on gender or race. I worked my way through school, with a family, without a plug nickle from the government or my "obviously wealthy white parents".

    Turn around a few of the minority group names and ask yourself if they would fly...

    American White Guy College Fund
    National Association for the Advancement of White People
    Small Business Association - Office of Men's Business Ownership
    National League of Men Voters
    International Straight People Human Rights Commission

    If you ask me... Straight white males are a minority, too.
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  20. #20
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Yup, I've got a problem with preferential treatment of any group. That does not mean that we should not try to eliminate barriers for those (or any) groups to allow them to compete on merit without regard to gender, race, etc. There is discrimination out there. I have seen it, in various places, based on race or sex, or even the ubiquitous discrimination of "the good old boys" against anyone new who won't go along with the system. Quotas and the like have not, and will not work to solve these problems, and I will not support them. Not simply as a planner, but as a person, I make it my responsibility to speak out and take action when I see this sort of injustice. I would interpret that as meeting item #7.

  21. #21
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    But what does it really say...

    Michael Stumpf wrote:
    ...I make it my responsibility to speak out and take action when I see this sort of injustice. I would interpret that as meeting item #7.
    If it said something like, "I will not base my judgements on sex or race...", or, "I will strive to remove barriers in the planning field so it may be open to all races and sexes," then fine!

    But it doesn't. It tells me I "must strive to increase the opportunities for women and members of recognized minorities..." Not "ought to", not "consider", but it says I *must*. That doesn't leave much wiggle room.

    I'd like to hear from a female or minority on this. Would you want to have an "opportunity" based upon your sex or skin, and not your abilities?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Agreed. I would not stomach a literal interpretation of that sentence.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    As someone with the female sex parts and very open about her alt sexuality i think that all these subgroups are just...

    STUPID!!

    yup, might be a great social thing, get support etc but sorry the race, gender whatever card has got to go. Mind you im not saying there are not still real problems-god knows ive had enough problems getting contractors and engineers not to look at my boobs while they talk to me *hello my brain is up here* but i take that in stride and bust my lilly white, female backside.

    i knew what i was getting into when i did it

    suck it up and quit being whiners-no more divisions.

    PG
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Agreed- stop whining. I wouldn't feel better about myself if I was hired because I was female, I'd feel worse if they felt they "must" give me the job to even out numbers.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    It's all about the context

    7) A planner must strive to increase the opportunities for women and members of recognized minorities to become professional planners.
    I don't have a problem with this by itself. There is certainly nothing wrong with women and minorities becoming professional planners and nothing wrong with someone striving (although perhaps "working" is a better term) to provide them with opportunities to do so.

    I think it's the context that causes a problem with some readers. I don't believe it appropriate to do any of the above at the expense of someone else having sufficient opportunity to become a professional planner. As long as males and people who aren't members of recognized minority groups also have the opportunities they deserve to become professional planners, what's the problem? Nothing in the text itself says women or minorities should be given extra opportunity or that someone else should be denied sufficient opportunity. Those of you who have commented on that have assumed that's the writer's intent, but it is not stated as such.

    I think it's what's not said here that makes the difference. Of course, maybe they didn't include that part for that reason. Allowing the reader to assume what the writer meant takes the blame away from the writer if there is disagreement. They can say that someone is assuming facts not in evidence, because they've not indicated what their policy is toward those not included in the statement.

    Maybe a better way to say this would be: A planner must work to increase the opportunities of anyone who does not have sufficient opportunities to be a professional planner. Then, anyone who does not have the opportunities they deserve would be the beneficiary of the planner's work. This is an inclusive statement that does not allow the reader to think that the intent is to create a situation where anyone has insufficient opportunities to become a professional planner.
    JOE ILIFF
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