Embedded Planning Cited in Planning Theory & Practice

I appreciate UC Irvine Professor Michael Mendez citing me and Embedded Planning in his article, “The Reflective Practitioner in the Context of Racial and Environmental Justice” in Planning Theory & Practice 2022. This is the Repair and Healing issue co-edited by Professor Courtney Knapp.

This is the first mention of Embedded Planning praxis in a peer-reviewed journal! The entire issue is Open Access. Read Dr Méndez and all the insightful articles.

Here’s the excerpt:

“Allowing time for critical reflective practice can be a powerful tool for planners to think purposively about their prior actions and to learn how in the future they can better challenge multiple forms of inequality embedded in the urban planning profession. Such an approach has led one county planner, Jonathan Pacheco Bell, to advocate broadly for planners to step away from their office desks and embed themselves in local communities, in what he calls, “Embedded Planning.” He believes that “for planning to achieve equity in communities, planners need to see the realities of community life…[and] connect with the people we serve” (Pacheco Bell, 2018). While he still works in an office and attends community meetings, he argues for prioritizing street-level engagement. Pacheco Bell often goes directly to constituents’ localized spaces: homes, churches, businesses, and bus stops to perform plain language outreach, conduct neighborhood organizing, give walking tours, mentor students, do empathetic code enforcement, and more. Pacheco Bell argues that working in such a manner helps produce more equitable plans, policies, and ordinances.

This type of emerging embedded planning offers a multidimensional view of the interactions between people’s well-being and the varying contexts of climate or environment or community shaped by wider political, institutional, economic, and social structures (Goldsmith et al., 2021; Mendez et al., 2020). For practitioners, in particular, such an approach can provide valuable contextual analysis and reflection on what hinders racial and environmental justice reform within the planning and regulatory institutions.”