11.S196 / 11.S946
Black Planning

What is planning? Who or what institutions have had the formal capacity to ‘plan’ in the modernist, rationalist sense of the term? What does it mean to ascribe to planning a racial, ethnic, or national descriptor, such as “Black”? In this course we explore how bringing together the terms ‘Black’ and ‘planning’ expands our understanding of the history of planning as an organized activity, the relationships among planners and institutions like “the state,” and ways that subjugated populations enact plans that imagine possible futures against, alongside, and beyond structures of oppression. We trace multiple genealogies of Black planning in relation to the emergence of imperial capitalism, colonialism, neocolonialism, and neoliberalism, primarily in a trans-Atlantic (or what Édouard Glissant calls an African archipelagic) context. By exploring “Black Planning” (or planning in Black), we recognize that Black and Blackness are contested identities, embodied racial monikers, sociopolitical locations, material and geographic spaces, processes, legal statuses, and grounds for generative creativity that have changed temporally and globally. We review select examples of how Blackness has been deployed discursively to inform geopolitics and the formal practice of planning historically. We also analyze cases and spaces of Black Planning. If, as the work of Afrofuturist writers suggests, Blackness is a state of mind that engenders the capacity to shapeshift physically, spiritually, and otherwise, what does this mean for planners, designers, architects, and others seeking to plan in Black?

Learning Objectives
● Describe the purpose and value of desire-based frameworks that center Black people’s aspirations, acts of creation, and intellectual traditions for studying and working with Black communities
● Articulate key ideas, frameworks, and movements associated with the Black Radical Tradition, and the sociohistorical and political-economic contexts that give rise to them
● Characterize and critically assess different approaches to community planning and development at a variety of social and spatial scales, through the lens of different Black radical formations
● Draw from a diversity of sources, media, and knowledge traditions that reflect the diversity of Black epistemologies and ideologies in order to make claims about strategies and struggles for justice, self-determination, and freedom
● Create a safe and healthy learning environment that values and engages in practices of care, self-reflection, political education, and imagination