Community Visions is a podcast that was launched in 2021 by Zachary McRae and Rasheed Shabazz, both Master of City Planning students at the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley.
Community Visions amplifies the voices and lived experiences of Black people as they directly, or indirectly, engage the field of city and urban planning. The Podcast also explores the Black cultural perspectives on the issues of urbanism and how the built environment shapes our daily lives. The episodes provide listeners with an understanding of how traditional planning practices have harmed communities of color, particularly Black communities. Through conversations with activists, community leaders, scholars and planners, Community Visions demonstrates a re-envisioning of the practice to break away from its deleterious past.
This introductory episode acknowledges that the conversation around anti-Black racism is happening on stolen and occupied Indigenous land.
Settler colonialism and settler privilege have enabled us to frame the Native American experience in the past tense, as if they are no longer here. The resulting effects of invisibility is exacerbated when groups are excluded from the decision-making process and their population numbers aren't large enough to be considered. The current western structures of democracy require it to be a numbers game. There are shared experiences and histories among Black and Indigenous people in the United States. To understand the foundations of urban planning, we must understand that the root of anti-Blackness comes from the transportation of enslaved and stolen Africans to build a nation that was violently stolen from Indigenous people. Given this relationship with one another, where might the liberation of Black and Indigenous communities intersect and where might they be in conflict?In the Bay Area, space is racialized on land that was originally stewarded by the Ohlone people. In this episode we speak with Jose Garcia AKA Peps 357, Mary Jean Robertson and Sharaya Souza to address the question of solidarity and understand their lived experiences and perspectives when it comes to a built environment that is shaped by western colonialist ideologies and occupies their land. These interviews were recorded in September 2020.
For our second episode, we explore how the movement of Black people is policed in urban settings by government agencies that go well beyond police departments. This episode looks at the perceptions of transit infrastructure and how it connects to other issues, including increased land values and gentrification. We also discuss how the self-agency of communities is quite different from the professional practice of community engagement that has been traditionally employed by local government agencies because it is a challenge to the status quo. Can we reprioritize the policies and practices of transportation planning, and urban planning in general to meet the spatial and movements needs of Black communities? Or will that cause these systems to collapse? What are the tools we can use to authenticity building partnerships with residents in a transformative way?We speak with Dr. Destiny Thomas and Naraji Smith to hear about their lived experiences, and the transformational work they continue to do.
We will hear how to build inclusive approaches to building community self-determination as it relates to transportation and it's intersectionality to other issues we face in the urban environment. These interviews were recorded in August 2020 and September 2020.
Join hosts Zachary McRae and Rasheed Shabazz on Monday, April 12 at 6:30pm PDT as they participate in the campus-wide lecture Black Girls, Black Voices, Black History alongside reelaviolette Botts-Ward and Professor Charisma Acey as part of the Arts + Design Mondays Lecture Series @ BAMPFA. Free and open to the public. Register for the event here.
Zachary McRae and Rasheed Shabazz are the recipients of the prestigious CED Arcus Diversity Platform Grant for their podcast Community Visions.