Embedded Planning Is Worth The Struggle

Infographic by Columbia GSAPP students

Honored to close out the 2022 Lectures in Planning Series at Columbia GSAPP with:

“Embedded Planning Is Worth The Struggle”

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 @ 1:15pm NY / 4:15pm LA. We will be live streaming. For details, check out the event page: https://www.arch.columbia.edu/events/2735-jonathan-pacheco-bell

Session description:

Planning is political. Decisions about the built environment inherently impact people’s lives. Everything planners do involves a struggle over “who gets what, when, where, how, and why?” Planners respond to this debate but many of our practices have resulted in unjust planning. In this time of increasing interrogation of planning’s legacies of inequity, planners are moving with intention to be better partners. And as part of repair and healing, planners are seeking more ways to build meaningful community partnerships. No longer is technocratic rational planning the default. But while the pivot to participatory methods helped democratize the planning process, professional practice still prefers project-based, one-off, transactional engagement.

Orthodox planning must evolve.

A better way is possible.

Los Angeles-based urban planner Jonathan Pacheco Bell urges practitioners to consider Embedded Planning praxis. Developed by Bell on the ground in South Central LA, Embedded Planning is a way to fundamentally restructure community engagement and practice. Embedded Planning means planning from the street, not from a desk. Embedded Planners work in the spaces and places of community members, building bridges with marginalized communities harmed by inequitable planning. Embedded Planning is a praxis that puts theory into action to better this world. Since Bell declared Embedded Planning exists in 2018, it has grown into an international movement among emerging planners. In this talk, Bell will show how Embedded Planning is being used to transform engagement into lasting community partnerships rooted in trust.

Community members have embraced Embedded Planning because they feel seen and included. Yet despite this praxis bringing ignored voices to the table, Bell encountered blatant hostility from planning figureheads who judged Embedded Planning as “too political.” Through storytelling and personal reflection, Bell will illustrate the struggle to carry out Embedded Planning in the face of power. Attendees will learn the challenges and benefits of this unorthodox approach and understand why this praxis is the future of planning.

Embedded Planning at Columbia University

Mark Your Calendars, 11-29-22

“Embedded Planning is Worth The Struggle”

Columbia University, Lectures in Planning Series, in-person & online

By: Jonathan Pacheco Bell, MAUP+MLIS @c1typlann3r

Session excerpt:

In this time of increasing interrogation of planning’s legacies of inequity, planners are moving with intention to be better partners. And as part of repair and healing, planners are seeking more ways to build meaningful community #partnerships. No longer is technocratic rational planning the default.

But while the pivot to participatory methods helped democratize the planning process, professional practice still prefers project-based, one-off, transactional engagement.

Orthodox planning must evolve.

A better way is possible.

Los Angeles-based urban planner Jonathan Pacheco Bell urges practitioners to consider Embedded Planning praxis. Developed by Bell on the ground in South Central LA, Embedded Planning is a way to fundamentally restructure community engagement and practice. Embedded Planning means planning from the street, not from a desk. Embedded Planners work in the spaces and places of community members, building bridges with marginalized communities harmed by inequitable planning. Embedded Planning is a #praxis that puts theory into action to better this world.

Since Bell declared Embedded Planning exists in 2018, it has grown into an international movement among emerging planners. In this talk, Bell will show how #EmbeddedPlanning is being used to transform engagement into lasting community partnerships rooted in trust.

Community members have embraced Embedded Planning because they feel seen and included. Yet despite this praxis bringing ignored voices to the table, Bell encountered blatant #hostility from planning figureheads who judged Embedded Planning as “too political.” Through storytelling and personal reflection, Bell will illustrate the struggle to carry out Embedded Planning in the face of power. Attendees will learn the challenges and benefits of this unorthodox approach and understand why this praxis is the future of planning.

[… is that Kenny Uong on the cover?!]

I Joined Mastodon

Twitter has gone to hell. I want no part of it.

On Election Night 2022, I joined Mastodon. Launched in 2016, Mastodon is an open source alternative to Twitter. Sign ups spiked in the last several weeks. I see why.

I remember a time before what we were calling The Information Superhighway. I remember the thrill of the nascent world wide web. Mastodon feels like I’m back in those early internet days. No ads. No trolls. No tech bro degradation. While it’s been only a couple days, the ethos is conversation. Nobody trying to go viral. No pendejos. It’s what Twitter used to be.

Much has been said about how confusing Mastodon is compared to Twitter — and any other social network. It’s not that complicated though. I figured out how to join in 15 minutes. Time will vary for every user. Yes there’s a learning curving, as there is with any new tool. It’s worth it. This runs counter to today’s insta-gratification culture but patience is key. Patient follow through.

Mastodon is a decentralized network of communities, known in techspeak as “instances.” They’re organized around a topic, region, interest, or theme. You register your account on an instance of choice. Some require a waiting period to join. Others are instantaneous. After joining, you have access to other instances in the network. You can follow and engage folks on yours and other instances. You don’t log into Mastodon so much as you log into your account on your instance/community, and from there you can access everything on Mastodon.

I joined the instance Mapstodon.space. Yes it’s a play on words! The geographer-focused community is a “gathering space for GIS, mapping, geospatial and cartography professionals and enthusiasts.” It was this thread on #GeographyTwitter that helped me figure out this place. As an urban planner, I feel at home here.

You can find me at @mapstondon.space/@c1typlann3r

Thank you, Mike Davis

When I abruptly quit architecture school in 1998 and was depressed and lost but found my way to critical planning practice, the book that got me there was City of Quartz.

Thank you and rest easy, Mike Davis.

We will keep up the fight.

Embedded Planning Praxis Keynote at APA Iowa Conference

[Collage by @mijacutsdeep on IG]

Feet on the ground in #Ottumwa for the Iowa APA Chapter Conference and my Friday 10/14 keynote:

𝘽𝙪𝙞𝙡𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙪𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙋𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙥𝙨 𝙏𝙝𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝 𝙀𝙢𝙗𝙚𝙙𝙙𝙚𝙙 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜

Community engagement must evolve. We planners engage the public when we need feedback. People are consulted; input is gathered; and plans, for the most part, incorporate public input — then the relationship concludes, only to restart with the next project. Such transactional planning does little to build long-term stakeholder relationships.

In a time of increasing interrogation of planning and its legacies of inequity, planners today are seeking better ways to build and sustain meaningful partnerships. Urban planner Jonathan Pacheco Bell (@c1typlann3r) proposes #EmbeddedPlanning as a way to fundamentally restructure community engagement and practice. Embedded Planning means planning from the street, not from a desk. Embedded Planners work in the spaces and places of community members. Embedded Planners build bridges with marginalized communities harmed by past planning practices. Embedded Planning is a praxis that puts theory into action to better this world. Since Bell declared Embedded Planning exists in 2018, it has grown into an international movement embraced by emerging planners.

Through storytelling and personal reflection, Bell will illustrate how Embedded Planning is being used to build lasting community partnerships that center engagement as an ongoing process. Attendees will learn the benefits and challenges of Embedded Planning, including takeaways for implementation, and understand why this #praxis is the future of planning.

[Collage by @mijacutsdeep on IG]

Embedded Planning Praxis Interview on Instagram Live

Infographic by Isabelle Soares @UrbanDesignProject

I enjoyed discussing Embedded Planning praxis on Instagram Live with Isabelle Soares @urbandesignproject. Planners and designers from Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Canada and the US took part in the event, making it the first international conversation I’ve done on Embedded Planning. I learned a lot from Isabelle and the audience. Every chat advances the praxis. More to come.

Embedded Planning Keynote at APA Iowa Conference 2022

Image by APA Iowa Chapter

Honored to deliver the Friday, Oct 14 keynote at the APA Iowa Chapter Conference

Building Community Partnerships Through Embedded Planning

Community engagement must evolve. We planners engage the public when we need feedback. People are consulted; input is gathered; and plans, for the most part, incorporate public input — then the relationship concludes, only to restart with the next project. Such transactional planning does little to build long-term stakeholder relationships.

In a time of increasing interrogation of planning and its legacies of inequity, planners today are seeking better ways to build and sustain meaningful partnerships. Urban planner Jonathan Pacheco Bell (@c1typlann3r) proposes Embedded Planning as a way to fundamentally restructure community engagement and practice. Embedded Planning means planning from the street, not from a desk. Embedded Planners work in the spaces and places of community members. Embedded Planners build bridges with marginalized communities harmed by past planning practices. Embedded Planning is a praxis that puts theory into action to better this world. Since Bell declared Embedded Planning exists in 2018, it has grown into an international movement embraced by emerging planners.

Through storytelling and personal reflection, Bell will illustrate how #EmbeddedPlanning is being used to build lasting community partnerships that center engagement as an ongoing process. Attendees will learn the benefits and challenges of Embedded Planning, including takeaways for implementation, and understand why this #praxis is the future of planning.

South Central YLEAD

Infographic by South Central YLEAD at CDTech

This week I joined Youth Leaders Empowered Active & Diverse (YLEAD) at CDTech for a conversation on urban planning and gentrification in South Central LA. I shared my story of working on the ground supporting the community with tools and knowledge to preserve South Central history. We shed light on the importance of urban planning for a South Central future without displacement.

Modernism vs Postmodernism

I’m revising an early essay I wrote interrogating planning theory in practice. It’ll be the first entry in my Student Papers Archive. I needed to do some background research on the two theories under scrutiny: Rational Planning and Postmodern Planning. In addition to peer reviewed journals from the planning realm, I found this exceptionally helpful chart comparing Modernism and Postmodernism.

From the URL cited on page 2, I noted the author is Professor Martin Irvine at Georgetown. But a copy-paste of the URL didn’t take me to the chart; instead it forwarded me to the professor’s homepage. And I couldn’t find the chart there. The last revision is dated 2012, but this side-by-side certainly is relevant 10 years later — and will remain so.

I want this chart to live on. I don’t know if the host site’s future update(s) will retain it. So much web ephemera is lost without us knowing. So, I’m doing my part by sharing Professor Irvine’s Modernism vs Postmodernism resource here. Researchers, check it out and please be sure to cite the original author if using the chart.

We Saw Ourselves in Cypress Hill

Representing Cypress Hill in my 1992 yearbook photo at Montebello High School

I wrote about the impact of Cypress Hill’s trailblazing self-titled debut album that dropped 31 years ago today, and explained why I represented them to the fullest in my 1992 yearbook photo at Montebello High School.

The #HipHopHistory microessay is on my Instagram (private but I add): https://www.instagram.com/c1typlann3r/

Excerpt:

“We saw ourselves in Cypress. They talked like us. We looked like them. Or tried, if you could grow a goatee.

This foolio went all in. I wore out that cassette tape. I grew a whiskery #brocha. I joined the Cypress Hill fan club, scoring stickers, newsletters, and the OG Cypress Hill t-shirt with the skull, weed, & globe in compass album cover on the front, and on the back it read: “The Phuncky Cypress Hill Shit.” The iconic gear got me suspended from Montebello High and gaffeled up by Magic Mountain security —“harassed by a pig real fast,” to quote B-Real.

When it came time for my 1992 yearbook photo, I had to represent. Vatos don’t smile ey. But I was moody too. The night before I’d phucked up my mustache trim. I cut it all off rather than leave it #chueco in the yearbook. I told myself that I was still down for mine. That’s not Johnny, it’s SKUZ ONE.”

Quoted in LAist on Student Debt

Image: LAist

I’m interviewed about the history of student debt in this excellent long form reporting by Julia Barajas at LAist. I thought about my urban planning students at Cal Poly Pomona and Pitzer College for this one.

Excerpt:

In May 2022, the Washington Post reported that White House officials were exploring the promised cancellation of $10,000 in student debt per borrower, but limiting efforts to people who earned less than $150,000 last year.

Opponents to this proposal can be found across the political spectrum.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell, an urban planner and adjunct professor at Cal Poly Pomona and Pitzer College, said he appreciates that Biden has not forgotten his campaign promise, but $10,000 is insufficient.

“It’s a way to split the difference so that you make some people happy and some people mad, but you’re not going to piss off the other side of the aisle, because you didn’t wipe away all the debt. It’s a very comfortable and extremely safe position,” he said.

Some of his students have taken on tens of thousands of dollars in debt, he added. “Meanwhile, the U.S. seems to be endlessly funding wars and other priorities with almost no hesitation, but it hesitates to invest in its own workforce.”