Planners Network resolution on the Planning Accreditation Board’s proposed changes to the accreditation diversity criteria

Planners Network resolution on the Planning Accreditation Board’s proposed changes to the accreditation diversity criteria.

Whereas, The Planners Network is a group, nearly 1000 members strong, of progressive urban planning practitioners, students, activists and scholars with interests in the socially just development of the communities in which we work and live, and

Whereas, issues of racial and class segregation, displacement, gentrification, exclusion and disempowerment plague many, if not most, of the nation’s cities, and

Whereas, there is overwhelming evidence that blacks and Latinos are unfairly targeted and prosecuted in the nation’s criminal justice system, all of which compound disparities in wealth and add further headwinds to progress on urban planning’s century-long emphasis on improving access to opportunities, and

Whereas, blacks and Hispanics lost more home equity and overall wealth than white households during the great recession – a reflection again upon the unequal urban processes at play in our nation’s cities[i], and

Whereas, during the mid-2000s housing bubble, blacks receiving mortgages were subjected to worse loan terms than whites with the same credit risk levels[ii], and minority mortgage applicants are still, today, more likely to be turned away from loans compared to whites with similar credit risks[iii], and

Whereas, minority children are more segregated into minority-heavy schools than they were 30 years ago and nearly 15% of black and Latino students attend “apartheid schools” where whites make up less than 1% of the enrollment[iv], and

Whereas, a social movement is growing in this country, under various banners such as Black Lives Matter, the Dreamers, and the Fight for $15, to bring attention to these issues, and others, and to directly confront their causes in various sectors of activity, from schooling, policing, to urban planning and policy[v], and

Whereas, it is painfully obvious that most processes of segregation and exclusion described above, among too many other similarly painful issues left out of this brief list, both affect and are affected by the ways in which and by whom and for whom our cities are planned and operate, and

Whereas, it is the stated ethical position of the urban planning profession to “strive to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of disadvantaged groups and persons (italics added)”[vi], and

Whereas, it is clearly evident that at this time in the history of the country, that issues of racial integration, diversity, voice and opportunity are central to imagining and creating that expanded choice for all persons, and

Whereas, diversity in the professions of urban planning and related fields is essential to truly addressing issues of racial integration and improvements to opportunity for all, and

Whereas, the racial imbalance in planning programs persists, and

Whereas, the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), the entity charged with accrediting graduate and undergraduate planning programs in North America, has substantive influence over the organization and operations of planning departments, and

Whereas, the PAB has proposed changes to the accreditation criteria that would weaken the sections on diversity,

And, the Planners of Color Interest Group of ACSP has noted their objections to these changes,

Be it resolved that: The executive committee of the Planners Network resolves to join in the appeal by the Planners of Color Interest Group of ACSP to reject the proposed changes to the PAB standards that relate to diversity in faculty and students, and to social justice and equity in the curriculum. We support the call for the PAB to seek consultation on their expressed legal concerns from those with legal expertise, and to actively seek broader input from its own Diversity Task Force and the members of the organizations it regulates before revising the standards. PAB’s proposed changes weaken the diversity and social justice mandates within the planning profession at a time when these mandates are critical to achieving racial, social, and economic justice.