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Nonmembers ask APA to support defunding the police

By Brentin Mock, Bloomberg CityLab, August 6, 2020

Sara Draper-Zivetz is a 2016 graduate of UC Berkeley (MCP). She was an associate director at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, 2015-2019, and is currently Farmers Market Manager at Lawrenceville United in Pittsburgh, PA.

According to an article in Bloomberg CityLab by Brentin Mock, a writer and editor for CityLab in Pittsburgh, Draper-Zivetz is “one of the eight authors of a letter” and among a “group of several hundred urban planners calling for” APA “to support defunding the police.”

The July 24 letter lays out “how neighborhoods that were racially segregated by a range of planning policies have become further denigrated by police violence and harassment of Black people — and that planners have done little historically to help change this dynamic.”

“These actions have had reverberating effects,” states the letter, “including creating the preconditions for over-policing of communities of color and disinvestment in community health and safety (just as they created the conditions for safety, wellness, prosperity, and limited policing in predominantly white suburbs).”

Draper-Zivetz, who is not a member of APA, hoped “APA won’t dismiss the letter’s concerns even though the primary authors are not actually members of the organization. ‘If APA only feels accountable to their dues-paying members, then they aren’t really representing or working on behalf of our profession,’ said Draper-Zivetz. ‘If that’s an identity they are comfortable with, this would be a good moment for all of us as planners — members or not — to understand that.’ ”

“After speaking with CityLab, APA President Kurt Christiansen responded to the letter’s authors, saying, ‘We’ve been listening thoughtfully to many voices during the past month and every thought shared has enriched our understanding of the nature and scope of the challenge, and informs our evolving thinking on how we can make sustained, constructive impact as a large, complex, and diverse association of planners.’ ”

“APA CEO Joel Albizo told CityLab, ‘We’ve been doing a lot of listening, particularly those of us coming from a place of privilege, and reflecting and thinking about how we should be responding. I think you’re going to see in the coming weeks and months more coming out from us that really tries to get at some of the things that we can do to address those issues, specifically as it relates [to] planners.’ ”

Read the full text of Brentin Mock’s article here.

Return to the September issue here.

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