Call for Papers: Fall 2015 issue of Progressive Planning – State of Planning in Detroit

Call for Papers: Fall 2015 issue of Progressive Planning – State of Planning in Detroit

Progressive Planning, the magazine of Planners Network, invites critical articles about the state of planning in Detroit for its Fall 2015 issue.

Once idealized as an icon of American modernity, Detroit’s drastic population decline and high poverty and unemployment rates put the city at the center of many conversations from professional planning discourses to the sensational social imaginary surrounding shrinking cities. Historically, like residents of many industrial cities, Detroiters have faced displacement from state sanctioned mega projects, discriminatory suburban housing policies and uprisings in response to racial injustice. Though land values and population have drastically decreased, urban morphology continues to be shaped by the privatization of public land holdings and market centric solutions addressing primarily economic conditions of Detroit. The prowess of a city built and sustained by union wages of auto-workers now finds itself bankrupt and polarized by the increasingly conservative politics of a newly minted right-to-work state. Within this context, working class and African American Detroiters have found themselves increasingly at the margins of formal planning conversations. This exclusion is seen in large scale water shut offs, the auction of tax foreclosed properties to out of state and international investors, and the development of formal plans that aim to “right size” less economically viable neighborhoods. As a necessity, politically marginalized Detroit communities have responded through the implementation of informal, survivalist strategies such as urban agriculture, ridesharing networks and a scrapping economy.

Progressive Planning critically explores the politics behind the planning and their effects on sustainability and justice. We go beyond “best practice” models to investigate the true social, political and ecological impacts of both mainstream and alternative planning schemes. Articles must be written in a critical and journalistic voice. Authors should avoid jargon and present a clear point of view. Articles should be no more than 2,000 words in English and written for a general audience. Do not use footnotes or bibliography. Please adhere to the guidelines for submission:  Articles should be sent to Lisa Berglund at by    September 15, 2015.

Today, rhetoric that describes Detroit as dead or dying, stagnated and suffering from irreversible damage, at times obfuscates the active continuation of urban policy supporting spatial injustice and political marginalization of local communities of color through neoliberalization.


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