Reflections of the LA Uprising 30 Years Later

Still image from “Reflections of the LA Uprising” 30 Years Later

The 1992 Los Angeles Uprising began thirty years ago today — April 29, 1992.

I was interviewed for “Reflections of the LA Uprising” 30 years later. This is a collaboration by JOVRNALISM, USC Annenberg, KCET, and LA Times.

I shared how the unrest led me on a path toward urban planning in/for South Central LA. And I testified this path would inspire me to create Embedded Planning as an LA County planner on the ground in Florence-Firestone.

Rightfully, this interview was done at the landmark Roosevelt Park pedestrian bridge over the Blue Line.

Many community voices are part of this project. Check out the immersive video “Echoes of the Uprising” where we share our memories and oral histories.

Three decades later, we still have work to do.

Echoes of the Uprising

Embedded Planning in Job Interviews

Infographic by Jonathan Pacheco Bell

The latest instance of our Embedded Planning movement coming up favorably in a job interview.

We are everywhere.

We cannot plan from our desks.

Background image: The book I recommend to every critical planner and embedded planner — especially the Fortress LA chapter — is City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, by Mike Davis.

Photo by Jonathan Pacheco Bell

Embedded Planning at Whittier College

My guest speaker role at the 2021 Environmental Justice Enforcement Symposium connected me with Dr. Rebecca Overmeyer-Velazquez at Whittier College.

Earlier this month, I joined the professor’s class sharing #EmbeddedPlanning with students in the “Jobs for Justice” series.

We didn’t stop there.

Next month, I’m at the campus Sustainability Club talking career pathways into city planning and Embedded Planning praxis.

We cannot plan from our desks 📢

Embedded Planning at SUNY Buffalo

This week I joined the SUNY Buffalo classroom of Wes Grooms, Ph.D. for a lunchtime chat on #EmbeddedPlanning praxis. It was one talk in a 2-part conversation about equity, with Carlton Eley, MSURP delivering the companion talk on equitable development.

Shout out to Dr. Grooms and students for the discussion. Dialog helps this praxis grow. I appreciated Dr. Grooms’ observation that while planning theory typically develops in the academy, Embedded Planning is a product of the community.

Embedded Planning at AARP Livable Communities Workshop

I spoke about #EmbeddedPlanning praxis at the 2021 AARP Livable Communities Workshop on engaging older adults. Shout out to my co-panelists. And big up to AARP organizers for the session transcript and video. Check it out.

Transcript and video together: https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/about/info-2021/2021-Livable-Workshop-Collaborating-With-Community.html

Voices of Equity and Embedded Planning

Recorded January 18, 2019 at American Planning Association HQ amidst our work on the national Social Equity Task Force. Since then, #EmbeddedPlanning has exploded onto the scene. And as my mentees will attest, I continue to big up Mike Davis’s City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1990). Start with the Fortress LA chapter. It’s a groundbreaking critique of #HostileArchitecture ⚔️


Podcast: Embedded Planning in the Plains of Id

Excerpt of South Central LA Thick Map for “Flatlands: We Cannot Pod From Our Desks”

In November 2020, I was interviewed by grad students from the UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative. Their research methods seminar examined LA urban theory + praxis through the lens of Reyner Banham’s Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971).

I spoke at length about @EmbeddedPlanning praxis, west coast hip hop origins, and South Central LA.

The group distilled our conversation into a dope podcast called, “Flatlands: We Cannot Pod From Our Desks.”

Listen to my podcast interview and view the companion Thick Map of South Central LA — portion of it is this post’s image. Check out all project podcasts and infographics.

Thank you to Samantha Solis, Miranda Hirujo-Rincon, Carrie Gammell, and Celia Sanchez Zelaya.

Creating Equitable Public Spaces Through Embedded Planning

On April 20, 2021, I delivered the guest lecture, “Creating Equitable Public Spaces Through Embedded Planning.”

It was originally scheduled for one graduate class at UCLA. By day’s end I added a second talk for undergraduates at Cal Poly Pomona.

The talk was created for the UP 279: Public Space Seminar at UCLA Urban Planning. This was one of my favorite courses when I was a student there. Professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris invited me to return as a speaker. She was my advisor in the MAUP (now MURP) program at UCLA, and taught this course back then too.

The presentation traced my work since graduation in 2005. I explained how I’ve created inclusive public spaces, and interrogated exclusionary hostile architecture, through street-level planning praxis.

The second talk was an evening presentation in Professor Alvaro Huerta’s course, Planning for Minority Communities, at Cal Poly Pomona Urban & Regional Planning. I appreciated the students welcoming this unscheduled event. Fun fact: I met Alvaro when we were both MAUP students in Anastasia’s Introduction to the History of the Built Environment course at UCLA Urban Planning.

Many students said that this was their introduction to the concept of #HostileArchitecture. Students continue to show excitement for the idea of Embedded Planning — planning practice on the ground. As always, I learned a lot from both Q & A sessions. Every question, comment, and critique advances Embedded Planning.

Embedded Planning Talk in South Bend, Indiana

Just wrapped a presentation on Embedded Planning praxis with planners and city staff at the City of South Bend in support of the Linden Avenue Greenhouse Project ✔️ Shout out to my South Bend colleagues for the conversation and help growing #EmbeddedPlanning. And huge thank you to Dominique D. Edwards for organizing today’s talk 🙌🏽 💙 🏁

Let’s take planning to the streets.

We Cannot Plan From Our Desks!