Nine provocative articles on race, equity, and urbanism

August 11, 2016 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article



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Aimee Custis writes on how race and equity have a fundamental impact on life in urban places. Originally published on Greater Greater Washington, our counterparts in DC and one of the premier planning sites in the country. Originally published here.

Even when they're big, hairy, and uncomfortable, these issues are worth discussing and writing about. With that in mind, here are nine provocative articles for urbanists (or anyone!) on the intersections of race, equity, policy, and life in urban places.

Everything on this list is an article (not a book), so the time commitment is relatively short. In putting together this list, several people told me they disagreed with one of the articles, or that an article made them feel uncomfortable or challenged their long-held assumptions. Including each was intentional on my part, though the viewpoints in the articles don't always represent my own, or those of Greater Greater Washington.


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1. The Case for Reparations
Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic

One of the longer reads on this list, The Case for Reparations is a look at the history of discriminatory housing policies and exploitative markets in America. Despite the title, reparations aren't totally the point. Instead, Coates uses reparations to show that if we truly confronted the history and realities of racism in the US, it would mean a really big shift in how we live and act today.
If you read only one article on this list, make it The Case for Reparations.



2. Death in Black and White
Michael Eric Dyson - The New York Times

An essay on the dynamics of white privilege and the white viewpoint in the context of modern America published following the shooting deaths of Alton B. Sterling and Philando Castile.


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