Summer 1997


Note from the Editors:

When Critical Planning was founded four years ago by five students in the Department of Urban Planning, we knew that while our future was uncertain our mission was very clear: to provide a forum for students in urban planning and other aligned fields to present their research. It is incredibly encouraging to map the progress of this publication during its first few years. The journal has matured considerably since its inception. We no longer have a staff of only five members. Instead, over fifteen students contributed to the development of this year’s issue. Equally as inspiring, however, is the continued originality and quality of submissions. In naming the journal Critical Planning, the original intention was to publish works in a variety of formats—policy critiques, fiction and poetry, theoretical investigations—that shared the common purpose of thinking and rethinking the purpose and meaning of urban planning.

In the tradition of our original mission, the articles in this year’s issue of Critical Planning share the similar theme of questioning the ways in which urban planning is conceptualized and practiced. Some articles challenge traditional views of the relationship between urban planning and the state. Whether they describe the political implications of economic restructuring in Los Angeles or Chile, they are all concerned with democratic and redistributive justice. Conrad assesses the state of campaigns for living wages as an economic development strategy. Rosenfeld and Marré present the effects of neoliberal economic restructuring and privatization on the Chilean economy.

Two other articles consider the ways in which planning is theorized and practiced, and they urge the reader to consider what is often left out of traditional planning discourse. Freeman explores alternatives for addressing racism in housing policy. Like Freeman, Deka is also concerned about the social impacts of different planning practices, and the context for his investigation is mass transit subsidization.

Three contributions provide us with a model for thinking planning pedagogy and theory. Smith brings our attention to the use of race as a political construct in our society and its implications for the planning profession. Caputo-Pearl proposes a new model of progressive planning grounded in a grassroots democratic epistemological framework. Looking at gender experiences in the built environment, Fung suggests two approaches to deconstructing the dominant patriarchal and capitalist structure.

Three short stories explore women’s role in planning, both explicitly and implicitly. Villacorta, Shimshon-Santo and Castro share memories of their experiences in the built environment and/or participation in the planning process. A further unifying theme is that these articles take place in Mexico or Latin America. What makes these articles so unique is that they marry fiction and reality. And finally, Polston and Sonksen share their poetic views of Los Angeles’ everyday life.

As we end our tenure as editors of Critical Planning, we look forward to seeing a new generation of urban planning students take over the leadership. We know that we will look forward to continuing to watch the journal mature and develop. We wish our successors all the best. Our experience with the journal was extremely rewarding, and we know that the next generation will have an equally positive experience.

Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell
Liette Gilbert


Table of Contents:

Living Wage Campaigns as an Economic Development Strategy
Susan P. Conrad

Inside the Miracle: Privatizations, Grupos and the New Concentration of Wealth
Stephanie Rosenfeld and Juan Luis Marré

Is Pro-Integrative Housing Policy Justified?
Lance Freeman

The Role of Subsidies in Achieving Transit's Objectives: An Evaluation
Devajyoti Deka

Understanding Race as a Political Construct
Janet L. Smith

Social Movements, Planning and the State
Alex Caputo-Pearl

How do Bodies Matter in the Exploration of Non-Sexist Space?
Eric M. Fung

Intercambio de Saberes: Learning from Puenta Piedra, Lima
Corina Villacorta

Reflections on a Crumbling World View
Amy Shimshon-Santoby

Where Traffic and Memories Cross
Claudia M. Castro

Divided We Stand, Westside Shangri-la
Michael Sonksen

9:36 Big Blue Bus
Josh Polston

Book Review: Losing Control?
Liette Gilbert