Chapter Updates and Events
PN Toronto Chapter Update – Event on Alternative Housing Models: Community Land Trust?
Summary: About 60 people attended the PN-Toronto event held at Beit Zatoun on June 4, 2015. The event began with a welcome from the evening’s emcee, Erika Hennebury, a welcome to Beit Zatoun from Robert Massoud, and a brief history of Planners Network from Barbara Rahder. The 3 panelists–Michael Shapcott, Allison Maxted, and Kuni Kamizaki—recounted their experiences with the development of Community Land Trusts (CLTs) and an animated discussion ensued. The evening wrapped up with an agreement to share CLT-related materials from participants on the PN-Toronto Facebook page.
A brief summary of each speaker’s background and remarks follow.
Michael Shapcott is recognized as one of Canada’s leading community-based housing and homelessness experts. He was a community organizer in the 1980s and 90s, helping to develop hundreds of units of affordable social and supportive housing in Toronto. He is currently on secondment from the Wellesley Institute and is managing a national multi-sectoral collaborative initiative on youth employment. Michael is co-editor, with David Hulchanski, of Finding Room (2004), a leading text on rental housing policy; and is co-author, with Jack Layton, of the second edition of Homelessness: The Making and Un-Making of a National Crisis (2008).
- Community Land Trusts currently exist in Toronto at the Bathurst Quay Community Land Trust and at the Toronto Island Community Land Cooperative. Both are thriving.
- We need more CLTs, but technical expertise is not the issue; we need a conversation about values.
- We know that the provision of supportive housing saves millions in emergency health care costs; meanwhile Toronto is becoming more inequitable not less so.
- Developers often look the other way when it comes to their role in contributing to an equitable city.
- Politicians often ask for a simplistic, silver bullet solution: “what is one thing I can do to address the affordable housing issue?” But there are many things–financial, regulatory, and social—that need to be addressed.
- We need a Housing Trust Fund, as well as CLTs.
Allison Maxted is Project Director of the Hamilton Community Land Trust, a grassroots and volunteer-driven effort to develop a CLT in Hamilton. She has a background in urban planning and is interested in building neighbourhoods that are inclusive, just, and livable. Allison has served as coordinator of operations for Kitchener’s Festival of Neighbourhoods and occasionally does research with CivicPlan, a Hamilton-based consulting firm that specializes in planning, engagement, and research.
- The Hamilton CLT is grassroots & only recently incorporated with funding from the Hamilton Social Planning Council and endorsed by 12 community associations
- Hamilton’s industrial decline has created many challenges: disinvestment, absentee landlords, poverty, mental health problems, underutilized and uncared for urban spaces with revitalization occurring mostly downtown.
- The CLT formed in response to land speculation and its lack of benefits for poorer residents; aim is to take land out of the market and re-establish community control that is equitable, inclusive and democratic.
- The organization is city-wide, not neighbourhood based, due to the scattered nature of neglected and tax delinquent properties that they hope to acquire before gentrification pressures make them unaffordable.
- CLTs offer a sense of permanence as the housing stays affordable for the long term.
- Still have numerous financial issues to resolve; exploring options such as community bonds, crowdsourcing, etc.
Kuni Kamizaki is the Research Coordinator at Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre (PARC) and planner for the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust. He has a background in community-based planning and was a researcher for a participatory action research project at the University of Toronto in partnership with Action for Neighbourhood Change-Mount Dennis. Since 2012, Kuni has worked at PARC and has been coordinating a range of community development initiatives, including the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust, the Food Flow project, and the Co-op Cred program.
- PARC’s CLT is aimed at resisting gentrification and displacement by taking land out of the market; they recently got a grant that allowed them to hire Joshua Barndt to be the CLT’s developer
- They’ve done extensive community organizing and have a Board: 1/3 members from catchment area, 1/3 CLT residents and 1/3 experts [whereas co-op housing boards are resident members only]
- Major challenges are the lack of funding and zoning support
- Land costs in Toronto mean that the CLT may not be very affordable
- However, the CLT management structure is aimed at meeting community needs and could become more affordable over time, especially if inclusive zoning allowed it to get a toehold in the city
- The Parkdale CLT sees themselves as land stewards who protect and preserve land for local community needs.
Discussion: Many important connections were made among participants in the conversations that followed the panel presentations. Among the key points discussed were:
- Governing structures for CLTS vary: neighbourhood-based, city-wide, purpose-based
- Several people emphasized the importance of using CLTs for community gardens and even commercial enterprises.
- Interestingly, both the Hamilton and PARC CLTs emerged out of graduate student research projects.
- The Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Healthy Community Foundation have provided grants to get the organizations started, but the big question is what will happen in 3-4 years when these grants run out?
- Section 37 of the Ontario Planning Act (also known as “Let’s make a deal planning”) is not adequate; inclusionary zoning is sorely needed
- Participants brainstormed potential opportunities to acquire underutilized land from churches, school boards, municipalities
Conclusion: CLTs can be any size, but democratic community control is essential. The emphasis is on the land and the community first with more affordable housing being the outcome. CLTs need non-market property taxation that municipalities already have the flexibility to provide, if they can be motivated to do so. Collective responsibility for land and for each other—this is the model we hope to be moving towards.
Organizers for this event were: Erika Hennebury, Jeff Biggar, Emelija Vasic, Lyna Saad, Andrew Winchur and Barbara Rahder.
To join in on the discussion in Toronto, check out the PN Toronto facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/829497817120171/ or contact Barbara Rahder at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the PN Toronto listserv.
Michigan Planner’s Network Chapter Update
Update from the PN-New York City Chapter
PN-NYC has a Facebook page that lists upcoming forums and events, such as the recent roundtable discussion on Community Planning & Resilience After Sandy, which was held on Friday, November 7 at 6:00pm at the Murphy Institute, 25 W 43rd St, Manhattan. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/PlannersNetworkNYC
Update from the PN-Toronto Chapter
If you want to join the PN-Toronto mailing list, please send an email to Barbara Rahder at email@example.com.
Update from the PN-Montreal Chapter
On October 28, 2014, the PN Montreal Chapter co-sponsored a seminar by Dr. Jung Won Sonn, from the Bartlett School of Planning, University of College London entitled “Land Dispossession and Capital Accumulation in a Late Industrialisation Context: Case of Gangnam apartments in South Korea”. The event was co-sponsored with the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, GUSS (Geography Undergraduate Student society) and the UPA (Urban Planning Association) at Concordia University.
If you would like to join the planners network-montreal google groups list in order to find out about upcoming events, you can contact Norma Rantisi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PN University of Colorado at Denver: Inequity Panel Series
Last semester, we had movie showings or faculty lectures about their research or concepts related to their research that related to urban justice issues. Topics included rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and urban greenery. This semester, we have had a lecture series on inequality in an urban context. We are currently trying to set up monthly discussion groups to discuss justice issues and involve the greater CU Denver community. Finally, we are trying to get involved in some volunteering opportunities with local or regional organizations.
Follow news and participate in discussion at: https://www.facebook.com/Plann
- April 22: Panelists discussed the realities of inequities in education, educational achievement, and economic opportunity, how the urban environment and planners can impact these, and what efforts are underway in the Denver metropolitan area to improve equity in education, jobs, and access to transit.
- Mar 11: Panelists will lead discussion on the history and form of inequity in housing, the health of residents, and the environment in which they live, with additional for poor and minority communities, and the possibility for positive change.
- Feb 4: Panelists discussed the ways that institutions contribute to and sustain inequality in poor & minority communities.
PN University of Michigan: Tough Talk
The University of Michigan chapter recently held two events in what we plan as an ongoing series called “Tough Talk!” to discuss challenging urban issues that don’t get covered sufficiently in coursework. Our first event was on the contradictions between environmental sustainability and social justice, and the second was on how to practically deal with privilege in planning. The chapter also took political action locally. We signed on and turned out in protest to support efforts to address declining enrollment on campus of African American students. And we helped in organizing around public transportation issues, including supporting a key campaign to strengthen transit in Ann Arbor, a march on the Detroit regional planning agency in support of increased taxes for transit, and working with university officials to offer more options to outlying health centers for low-income travelers.
Update from PN University of Michigan
The chapter at the University of Michigan has been busy this school year, engaging many University of Michigan Masters of Urban Planning (MUP) students as well as local planning professionals from throughout the Southeast Michigan region. So far this year we’ve done the following:
- Passed out 30 back issues of Progressive Planning Magazine to incoming MUP students at the fall orientation.
- Held an information meeting to recruit new chapter members, discussing the history of PN and our chapter, as part of a formal weekly career services speaker series in the urban planning program.
- Invited students, professionals, and activists from the region, with over 30 in attendance, to a scoping meeting in Ypsilanti to brainstorm what our chapter wants to be and do for the coming year.
- Hung a series of posters posing provocative questions and asking for feedback in space devoted to MUP programming. Provided markers and stickers for students to share thoughts and ideas.
This method has been a great way to promote the work of our chapter, raise awareness of progressive planning issues, get input into the work we do, and encourage more participation.
Update from the PN-Montreal Chapter
Planners Network-Montreal, in collaboration with Cinema Politica-Concordia will be screening the film, My Brooklyn, on Monday, March 17th at 7 p.m. in the Clark Theatre (lower level of the Hall Building, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., Montreal, Quebec) For more information, check out this website. This film was screened on the first night of the PN Conference that was held in New York City last June. For more information, contact norma(dot)rantisi(at)gmail(dot)com.
PN-Montreal is co-sponsoring a talk by Lorena Zarate, President of Habitat International Coalition (HIC) and active contributor to Right to the City charter for Mexico City. The talk is entitled “The Right to Housing and the Right to the City: An Analysis from the Front Lines” and it will be held at Concordia University, Hall Building, (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.) Room 1267, Friday, February 28, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. For more information about HIC, visit here.
Update from PN University of Colorado at Denver Chapter
Planners Network is pleased to announce the formation of a new chapter at the University of Colorado at Denver. This group is student-lead, but open to all. Direct questions to the new chapter contact, mathieu(dot)menard(at)ucdenver(dot)edu
Update from PN University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC)
Welcome to new chapter members:
President- Jessica Kursman
Vice President- Scott Humphrey
Treasurer- Billy Lyman
Update from Planners Network-Manitoba (PNmb)
The PNmb chapter now has a local steering committee:
Sarah Cooper, co-chair; Kerniel Aasland, co-chair; Richard Milgrom; Christina Maes; Gareth Simons; Laura Rempel (U of Manitoba student rep); and Carole O’Brien.
The chapter has hosted the following activities in the past year:
14 March 2013
- “Whose Winnipeg? A forum to discuss public process and city decisions”
Co-sponsored with: Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, Pnmb, OURS Winnipeg, and For the Love of Winnipeg. Panelists included Richard Milgrom and Sheri Blake.
- “Opening a virtuous circle. Participatory Budgeting as a tool to reform public institutions”
Speaker: Giovanni Allegretti, Coimbra University, Portugal. Introduction: Shauna MacKinnon and Lynn Fernadez, Candian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Panelist and discussion: Jenny Gerbasi, Councilor, City of Winnipeg; Erin Huck, Health in Common; and Kemlin Nembhard, Daniel McIntyre St Matthews Community Association. Sponsored by Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDnet); Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA); Department of City Planning, University of Manitoba; Health in Common; Planners Network Manitoba; Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.
5 March 2013
- Shift Change (Film Screening)
Sponsors included: Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet), Manitoba Cooperatives Association, Organic Planet Worker Coop, PNmb, University of Manitoba Department of City Planning.
21 September 2012
- “Planners as Citizens and Activists” A Planners Network DisOrientation Event – sponsored by PNmb and and CUPE.
- Park(ing) Day – PNmb had the first Winnipeg Park(ing) installation in 2008. We have done a few since, but this year, StoreFront Manitoba has worked to coordinate the event as park of Design Week. Despite a bad, rainy day, quite a few spaces were realized.
20 September 2012
- -Centre Space, Russell Building, University of Manitoba
- Food for Thought – Armchair Discussion
- -“Ethics in Professional
Planning Practice: Whose Ethics? Which Ethics? Why? How?”
- Peter Marcuse in discussion with Arthur Schafer, Director of the Centre for Applied Professional Ethics
- -Evening Lecture by Peter Marcuse: “Is Professionalism Bad for Cities? The Role of Architects and Planners”
For more information about PNmb, you can email: email@example.com.
Update from PN Montreal
If you would like to join the newly established listserv: firstname.lastname@example.org please contact Lindsay Wiginton, email@example.com
This 2-day conference provides a forum to share strategies community-level planners, nonprofits, and activists are using to cooperate to achieve regional equity goals, even in the face of shrinking budgets and political opposition. Hosted at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, the conference will include planners, activists, students, and academics from all over the United States and beyond. Visit our web site for more information.
A Work in Progress?
CAPS-ACEAU 2010 Conference
Guelph, Ontario February 4-6 2010
The Canadian Association of Planning Students – L’Association Canadienne des Étudiants en Aménagement et en Urbanisme (CAPS-ACEAU) is a non-profit student-driven organization that hosts an annual conference for Canadian planning students.
This year, the 2010 CAPS-ACEAU conference will be held at the University of Guelph in Ontario, February 4th – 6th, 2010. The conference brings together planning students from across the country expand their knowledge and engage in discussion about urban and rural planning issues both in Canada and internationally. The conference offers students the chance to collaborate with each other and with professional planners and academics to explore progressive solutions to today’s most pressing planning challenges. It also provides the opportunity for students to present their own research, meet potential employers and learn about exciting jobs in their field.
Check back periodically at the 2010 conference website, http://www.caps-aceau.org, for updates.
Un Processus en Évolution?
Le Congrès CAPS-ACÉAU
2010 Guelph, Ontario, du 4 au 6 février 2010
L’Association canadienne des étudiants en aménagement et en urbanisme (CAPS-ACÉAU) est une organisation étudiante à but non-lucratif dont la mission est l’organisation d’un congrès annuel national pour les étudiants en urbanisme canadiens.
Cette année, le congrès se tiendra à l’Université de Guelph en Ontario, du 4 au 6 février 2010. Le congrès rassemble des étudiants et des professionnels en urbanisme et en aménagement de tout le pays et facilite l’avancement du savoir sur les enjeux urbains et ruraux actuels du Canada et d’ailleurs. L’édition 2010 offre aux étudiants la chance de collaborer avec les professionnels et les professeurs d’explorer des solutions progessives aux défis les plus pressants de l’aménagement et de l’urbanisme. De plus, l’événement offre une opportunité aux étudiants de présenter leurs travaux, de réseauter avec des employeurs potentiels et d’apprendre sur les différentes options de carrière dans leur champs.
Veuillez consulter le site internet de CAPS-ACÉAU pour plus d’information,http://www.caps-aceau.org.
New PN Chapter at University of Buffalo, New York
A new PN Chapter has formed at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York! The chapter is open to both students and non-students. For more information or to join the chapter, please contact apblair(at)buffalo(com)
Update from PN Montreal
PN Montreal and Cinema Politica co-sponsored a film screening of “The Garden” (by Scott Kennedy Hamilton) at Concordia University on Monday, February 9th. The screening was held in a large auditorium and there were over 400 people in attendance. One of our local members introduced PN to the audience immediately before the screening and we had a table at the entrance with display copies of Progressive Planning Magazine as well as the new PN brochures, all of which were well-received. The film, which deals with issues of property development, political corruption and the displacement of farmers (primarily immigrants from Latin America) in Los Angeles, was a perfect way to introduce PN and its mission to new members. For more information about PN Montreal, please contact Ryan Craven (ryanjcraven(at)gmail(dot)com) or Yuseph Katiya (yusephkatiya(at)gmail(dot)com).
New PN Chapter in Guelph, Ontario, Canada
A new PN Chapter is being formed at The University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada! For more information or to join the chapter, please contactpnguelph(at)gmail(dot)com.
Update: Kickoff, Boston Chapter, December 6, 2008
The Boston Chapter held its first public event, a screening of the film The Greening of Southie, on December 12, 2008. Twenty-five people gathered in the Cambridge offices of Livable Streets to watch this documentary about the process of building the first LEED-certified building in the working-class South Boston neighborhood. After the film, Zakcq Lockrem and Alexandra Miller made a brief presentation about Planners Network membership. This film screening marked the beginning of a series of successful events, including a community outreach program in Allston-Brighton, a monthly book club, and a recruitment drive during student open house weekend at the Harvard and MIT planning programs.
Event: Progressive Planners Panel, Saturday, March 29th, 2008
University of Southern California PN Chapter
“Transportation in LA”
Moderator: Lisa Schweitzer, Assistant Professor, USC School of Policy, Planning and Development
- Joe Linton — Policy Associate, Livable Places
- Angelo Logan – Director, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
- Deike Peters – Fellow, Center for Metropolitan Studies and Adjunct Lecturer, Urban & Regional Planning & International Urban Management, Technical University Berlin
- James Rojas – Project Manager, Metro and co-Founder, Latino Urban Forum
The 2008 Progressive Planners Panel, organized by Tim Bretz and Amanda Bromberg of the USC Planners Network chapter, was a huge success! The theme of this year’s discussion was “Transportation in LA” and the panelists presented the audience with stimulating thoughts and observations about this crucial and timely topic. The discussion touched upon issues of transportation equitability, regionalism versus localism, questions of health conditions related to transportation systems, and of course, Los Angeles as a sustainable 21st Century city.
The informal panel was held in an intimate art gallery in downtown Los Angeles. This flexible space allowed the dynamic audience to mingle with old and new acquaintances on a Saturday night, while engaging in an important subject with local and international experts. Planners Network offered Angelenos the opportunity for critical conversation through a welcoming format, and once again, pushed the progressive planning ideals in Los Angeles to a new level.
Update from New York City Chapter, November 6, 2007
Event: Center for Community Planning and Development, Inaugural Forum,Advocacy and Community Planning: Past, Present and Future, November 14th 2007
Advocacy Planning began in the 1960’s when urban planners joined the Civil Rights movement to fight community displacement. Today advocates for social and environmental justice work in a broad array of disciplines, including social work, public health, urban policy, and the social sciences. Speakers from Boston, New York and Los Angeles will explore new issues and approaches to advocacy.
Sponsored by the Independence Community Foundation and Progressive Planning Magazine
Update from Toronto PN Chapter, June 30, 2006
If you are interested in joining the PN Toronto listserv, include your e-mail address or send a message to Amy Siciliano at asicilian(at)graffiti(dot)net.
Event: Planners Network New York City Social, September 21, 2006
Mark your calendars for Thursday, September 21st and join Planners Network at THE Premier Planning Social Night of the fall season! Do you believe that urban planning should be a tool for eliminating inequalities and injustice, rather than maintaining the status quo? Do you want to use planning to assure adequate food, clothing, housing, medical care, jobs, safe working conditions, and a healthful environment?
If so, come to the Loreley Restaurant and Biergarten from 6-9pm to meet fellow progressive planners and jumpstart Planners Network in New York and the metro area!
You most certainly will:
- meet planners, activists, planning students, professors, and professionals
- add to your personal and professional network
- get the lowdown on planning issues locally, nationally and internationally You might find an opportunity to:
- organize new Planners Network events or a chapter in New York
- get involved in local issues
If we plan the night correctly, you may even:
- demonstrate your spatial skills on the dance floor!
Please RSVP and send any questions to Keri Tyler (keri(dot)tyler(at)gmail(dot)com) or Josh Lerner (josh(at)linesofflight(dot)net). If you can volunteer on the 21st, please let us know!
Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten
7 Rivington Street New York, NY 10002
Lower East Side
Between Bowery and Chrystie Street
phone 212 253 7077 fax 212 691 3548
The social will be downstairs in the lounge.
Update from Montreal PN Chapter, May 5, 2006
On April 11th 2006, after five months of orgainzing, Planners Network Montreal in collaboration with Allego Concordia and several student organizations hosted a sustainable transportation fair and bike fair entitled “Spring into Gear!” at Concordia University in Montreal. The full-day event with emphasis on the bicycle featured several informative workshops, a photo exhibition, information kiosks by several non-profit associations including Velo-Quebec and Eqiterre, and a free BBQ vegetarian lunch.
The bikefair concluded with PN Montreal conducting a public panel discussion about bicycle politics, animated by Craig Townsend – Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia, and moderated by Melissa Garcia-Lamarca – Sustainability Coordinator, Environmental Health and Safety, at Concordia. With about 80 to 90 people in attendance, the panel featuring Robert “Bicycle Bob” Silverman, Projet Montreal party leader Richard Bergeron, Montreal city councillor Michel Labreque, and Marc Jolicoeur of Velo-Quebec, provided various point of views on the challenges to using the bicycle as a sustainable transportation alternative to the “car culture” of gas-powered travel and on the benefits of learning how to turn our own wheels. The discussion provided great insight into the future of bicycling in Montreal, and in particular, the progression of planning utility cycling lanes, safety, security and the encouragement of potential riders – recreation and commuter – as well as the need to actively consult with citizens.
Event: Disorientation 2006: Tour of Mill Creek Farm, September 24, 2006
4901 Brown Street (Mill Creek Farm) and 3420 Sansom Street (White Dog Café)
Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 1 PM
Delaware Valley (Philadelphia) Chapter
Andrea Wong : wongam(at)design(dot)upenn(dot)edu
The Delaware Valley (Philadelphia) Chapter of Planners Network, based out of the University of Pennsylvania, will hold its first Disorientation on Sunday, September 24, 2006. The event will begin with a tour of Mill Creek Farm, an urban farm specializing in organic and sustainable agriculture, hosted by co-founders Jade Walker and Johanna Rosen. This will be followed by a networking reception at White Dog Café, a West Philadelphia institution specializing in local, organic, and sustainable cuisine. The reception will also feature guest speakers Laureen Boles, Philadelphia Water Department, and Josh Lerner, Steering Committee Member of Planners Network. This event will provide a forum for concerned citizens to discuss how food is produced and distributed to urban communities.
Update from Toronto PN Chapter, February 8, 2006
On December 8th, 2005 Planners Network Toronto hosted a screening the French film La Haine (1995) followed by a critical discussion of the recent uprising in France led by Stefan Kipfer (York University) and Kanishka Goonewardena (University of Toronto). The event opened a space for an alternative, critical reading of the crisis in France that has resurfaced through the recent uprisings: it examined parallels and divergences between the situation in France, Los Angles, and Toronto, and it helped bring to light the central role of planning in both creating and sustaining such situations.
The event was held in Metro Hall’s council chambers and drew a crowd of approximately 35-40 people. Regular PN Torontonians came out, as did members of Planning Action, and students and faculty from Trent, University of Toronto, and York. PN material was distributed and sold and membership in PN was promoted. Many members expressed a desire to hold a similar event in the near future, and plans were made to meet early in the new year.
Update from Rutgers University PN Chapter, November 7, 2005
After many years, Rutgers University in New Brunswick now has a PN chapter! We have held two meetings and we have about 15-20 confirmed members. I received about 20 additional positive responses to an informational e-mail I sent out two weeks ago. The chapter seems long overdue, especially since so much is happening right under our noses.
As you may or may not know, the City of New Brunswick (with help from the University and a designated private developer) is building and displacing and gentrifying and taking over the city as we speak. No less than 4 megastructures have been built in the last year, totalingover 1500 residential units….95% of which are WAY above market rate (studios costing $1800, etc). A new University Center is also in the planning phase, and it will include a 25-story residential tower as well as numerous college-related retail establishments. Little is being said about the displacement of an entire city block of long-time tenants (commercial and residential), including the only independent seller of university books in the town who has since sued the City – charging it with eminent domain abuse.
The Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers is ideally situated (it’s LITERALLY located in the center of this downtown redevelopment area!) to become involved in efforts to open the planning process to the community and those most affected by this “revitalization.” This past weekend, several of our new members attended a community planning workshop here in New Brunswick, helping to facilitate small resident groups working on a visioning process. Ken Reardon from Cornell helped lead this meeting which attracted approximately 100 residents.
The chapter is open to the public, as many New Jersey planners have sent e-mails wanting to be kept abreast of future events and meetings. For more information, contact Jeremy Nemeth, PhD Candidate, Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. E-mail:jnemeth(at)eden(dot)rutgers(dot)edu.
Update from University of Michigan PN Chapter, May 12, 2004
The University of Michigan Chapter of the Planners Network began meeting in November 2003. Our group mostly consists of master of urban planning students from the university. Much of the time since our original inception has been devoted to developing a group identity. This has been a difficult process at times because it quickly became evident that our members possessed many different conceptions of planning and the role of planners. But the diversity in thought about planning has also been a great resource in developing potential activities and projects for the future. Our group decided to pursue some of the ideas expressed by our members to help form an identity. The first activity we participated in was to cosponsor a debate about a greenbelt initiative on the ballot for an upcoming Ann Arbor city election. We also showed the movie “The Sunshine State” and held a discussion about the planning-related issues it raises. More recently, we organized a discussion about gentrification. Many students, several professors, and an Ann Arbor city planner brought unique perspectives to the discussion, and it provided an opportunity to interact outside of the classroom. This event has been our most successful in attracting people outside of our group to an activity. We intend to hold another discussion before the semester is over focusing on a Michigan state anti-affirmative action bill and its potential consequences for planning in cities. We again hope to involve students, professors, and legal and planning professionals from the community in a discussion. Also, our group has been involved with the urban planning program’s open house for admitted students. Finally, we began a group web log at http://www.theotherleading.com/pn to facilitate group discussion and keep each other informed. We encourage other PN members to check it out and contribute.
Update from Concordia University PN Chapter (Montreal), April 4, 2004
The Montreal Chapter of Planners Network began organizing at Concordia in the fall of 2003. Since then the group has hosted free film screenings on contemporary urban issues (such as ‘645 Wellington’ a moving Montr?al-based documentary on the life of building and its inhabitants on the edge of the gentrification frontier), as well as two public events. The first, entitled “The Politics of Planning” brought PN’er Sam Boskey to deliver a critical analysis of his experience as a member of the City of Montreal’s Urban Development Committee. Building on the networks and exposure gained from this event, we decided that with Montreal’s new master plan on the drafting table (including a proposal for a new, signature ‘quartier Concordia’), we would provide a public forum to debate the hotly contested issue of pedestrianisation in the city. Entitled “Pedestrianising Montreal: C’est une bonne idee?”, the forum took place in March, and was hosted by CBC radio. A panel discussion focused both on issues of history, politics and equity, and those of the utopian visionaries intent on ‘reclaiming the streets’ from the automobile. John Zacharias, Chair of Geography, Planning, and Environment at Concordia spoke on the history of pedestrian environment, with reference to its discrimination practices. Richard Bergeron, head of the Montreal Metro Transportation Agency, spoke out as an active proponent of car free cities (also author of: Le livre NOIR de l’automobile); Sylvie Tremblay, Traffic and Circulation department at the City weighed the pros and cons from the perspective of mobility; Pierre Gauthier, Urban Planning at Concordia, discussed the importance of understanding the fabric of the urban environment before implementing pedestrian networks; Owen Rose, leader of community-based “Avenue Verte” shared their popular vision for a car free Avenue Mont Royal; and Wade Eide, local architect, presented selected case studies he did for the City on pedestrianisation. The panel presented to a full house of curious and concerned citizens and thus the question and answer period that followed was both lengthy and lively. We were more than pleased to learn that local newspapers provided press coverage and the CBC intends to air portions of the programme in the near future.
Update from Halifax PN Chapter, April 4, 2004
On Monday March 8th, the Planners Network sponsored a community event in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Three planning students, Capp Larsen, Jaspal Marwah and Lilith Finkler, organized the event which featured four speakers addressing various aspects of progressive planning. Denise Allen, Dave Ron and Kasia Tota were all local personalities active in various aspects of planning. Barbara Rahder was a featured guest and PN representative who flew in from Toronto for the event. Denise Allen spoke about Africville, a Black community destroyed by Urban renewal in the 1960’s. Dave Ron described a sewage treatment plant planned for an area of Halifax inhabited by poor people and persons of colour. Kasia Tota presented a slide show focused on homelessness in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Barbara Rahder discussed the situation of women in planning and encouraged people to join the PN. Panellists commented on environmental racism evident in the decision to place undesirable facilities such as sewage treatment plants in primarily Black neighbourhoods. Discussion subsequently focused on organizing methods necessary to confront municipal decision makers.
After the question and answer period was over, people continued to chat informally. One hour after the event, many audience members were still engaged in conversation. At the end of the evening, a follow-up sheet was circulated. Over 50 people signed up, expressing interest in either further events or some sort of political action. Given the other meetings taking place on campus the same evening and the short lead time to publicize the gathering, the inaugural meeting of the Planners Network in Halifax was overwhelming successful.