Planning For Equity Fighting For Justice Planners Organizers And The Struggle For Metropolitan Inclusion

Planners often face a fundamental tension in their day-to-day work. Because planning is inherently a technical process that requires high levels of profes- sional expertise related to land use planning, zoning provisions, regulations, government structures and powers, and the like, frequently it is a professionally driven, top-down process. Many planners also hold a fundamental commitment to “equity planning,” however, which includes public participation and promo- tion of strategies that can benefit the least advantaged. Many in this camp are painfully aware that, while their technical models and approaches can inform policy change, such change is rooted more fundamentally in the balance of political forces and community pressures (Krumholz and Forester 1990). Com- munity pressures emerge in part from what we call social movement organiza- tions, which are groups that may be versed in one or another aspect of planning issues (e.g., transportation or land use), but are committed primarily to bringing about deep social change and their alternative vision of how to organize society.