Urban Planners Oppose the War in Iraq

Date published: 03/20/03

We are urban planners and professionals in the fields of community preservation and development. We oppose the U.S. war in Iraq as a politically unacceptable means of resolving the problem of disarmament and dealing with the despotic regime in Iraq. The Bush administration has turned its back on the United Nations and proceeded despite overwhelming opposition throughout the world. The invasion of Iraq increases instability and heightens the dangers of terrorism throughout the world.

Urban planners and professionals in community development have special reasons for opposing this war.

  1. Urban planners are dedicated to the preservation and development of cities. We cannot support a war that destroys the physical and social infrastructure of cities. Baghdad is a city of 4.5 million people and large numbers of civilians will die as the result of U.S. bombing.
  2. Urban planning is concerned with human welfare and improvement in the quality of life. We cannot support a war that will bring widespread hunger, homelessness and extensive human suffering.
  3. The earliest cities were founded in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in what is now Iraq. The numerous ancient historic treasures in Iraq are threatened by the extensive U.S. bombing campaign.
  4. Urban planning in America is based on principles of participation and equity. We cannot support a war that imposes the will of the mightiest nation in the world on a population that is helpless and at a foreign military force. U.S. occupation of Iraq will only expand inequalities and facilitate the plunder by the U.S. of Iraqi resources and labor.
  5. Democratic urban planning is based on preserving and developing open and integrated cities with accessible public spaces. The U.S. is reinforcing the establishment of elite, walled enclaves in the Middle East, and on its own border. The U.S. supports, through its foreign aid, the construction of walls, very much like the Berlin Wall, that divide people based on ethnicity.
  6. Since 9/11, urban planners are being called upon to consider security concerns in the urban development process. We do not believe there are any methods for building ?defensible cities? simply by using physical design. Public security is best guaranteed by building cities and societies that minimize social inequality and maximize social interaction. We are concerned that the Bush administration?s homeland security efforts are reinforcing inequalities, creating more fear and instability, and increasing social isolation. We call on all professionals in the urban planning and community development fields to join the global protest against the U.S. war.

The Planners Network Steering Committee 
Tom Angotti
Ann Forsyth
Fernando Marti
Richard Milgrom
Barbara Rahder
Ken Reardon
Gwen Urey
Ayse Yonder

Planners Network is an association of progressive urban planners.