Statement of Solidarity with the African American Community

The UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design (AUPD) stands in solidarity with the African American community and communities of color in Kansas City and nationwide against racism and injustice.

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and too many others, and the police brutality that continues to threaten the quality of life in American cities, is untenable.

We are deeply concerned for the safety of our students, our neighborhood partners and leaders, our colleagues, and their families.

We know that many African American families have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID19 pandemic and were already suffering from great personal and family losses. Our heart goes out to you – our colleagues, friends and neighbors.

As educators and professionals, we are well aware of our responsibility to promote the values of equity and social justice. Hate, white supremacy, and racism have no place in our society – and especially in the public institutions that have been established to serve and protect.

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Code of Ethics makes it abundantly clear that social justice is our responsibility:

We shall seek social justice by working to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of the disadvantaged and to promote racial and economic integration. We shall urge the alteration of policies, institutions, and decisions that oppose such needs.[i]

The American Institute of Architects has also adopted policies and programs related to equity, diversity and inclusion.[ii] We support the local and national American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Planning Association (APA) statements against racism and violence against African Americans and communities of color. We urge these professional organizations to invest significant financial and professional resources to help rebuild urban neighborhoods equitably, to fight racism within the professions across the country, and to expand access to planning and architecture for marginalized communities.

The AUPD faculty commit ourselves to anti-racism as a core principle of our approach to social justice in our teaching, research and service. The UMKC Center for Neighborhoods in AUPD reaffirms its mission to serve the Kansas City community, including many neighborhoods that have struggled to survive and thrive despite generations of disinvestment and racially-biased policies, through research and outreach.

For more information, please contact: 816-235-1725.

[i] https://www.planning.org/ethics/ethicscode/

[ii] https://www.aia.org/resources/24301-equity-diversity-and-inclusion

Center for Neighborhoods 2016 Annual Report

Center for Neighborhoods releases annual report.

The staff of the Center for Neighborhoods at UMKC, which is housed in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design (AUP+D) – is pleased to share the first annual report. The report explains our mission and activities in 2016 since the opening in late April. The report details our impact so far, with maps and data about the neighborhood organizations and leaders who participated in the first two cohorts of the neighborhood leadership program.

The Center would like to thank all of the supporters who made this first year such a great success.

To open a PDF copy of the report – please follow this link:

UMKC-Center-for-Neighborhoods-2016-Annual-Report

UPD Faculty present at the 2017 Community Development Workshop

Faculty from Urban Planning and Design participated in the 5th Annual Community Development Workshop in Kansas City.

The workshop was well-attended by community members, city staff, students and local professionals in community development and planning.

This year the Center for Neighborhoods was a sponsor and participant in the event.

Dr. Michael Frisch, Dr. Clara Irazabal-Zurita, Dr. annalise fonza, and Jacob Wagner all participated in an event focused on developing a shared understanding of gentrification. The session was very well-attended and participants worked in groups to generate mutual knowledge about the different definitions of gentrification as well as the implications of this controversial concept.

 

Students from Augsburg Germany collaborate with UPD students on Prospect Charrette

Students from Augsburg Germany’s University of Applied Sciences joined UMKC students in Urban Planning and Design (UPD) for a five day charrette in Kansas City. Four teams of students worked together to develop architecture, urban planning and urban design concepts for the Prospect Avenue corridor in Kansas City, MO.

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Students worked in an intense and quick environment over five days to develop their ideas. Each team built a model to illustrate their ideas and to explore two sites on Prospect Avenue.

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Students developed new friendships and learned about planning and architecture in Germany. Faculty shared different approaches to urban design and learned from their colleagues through a collaborative design process.

Several professionals joined the students to review their final presentation, including staff from Gould Evans, Zahner Design & Fabrication, Populous Architecture, REACH Collaborative, and Taliaferro and Browne. Staff from the Center for Neighborhoods also participated in the charrette and final review.

 

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Clara Irazábal merges pursuit of social justice and equity in two areas

Clara Irazábal is settling into her new roles as director of the Latina/Latino Studies (LLS) Program and professor of Urban Planning at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she combines these roles to pursue social justice and spatial equity.

“These positions allow me to teach, research and serve while addressing the urban challenges our communities face,” said Irazábal.

“I feel mutually connected and devoted to both areas, and my classes at UMKC will have components from urban planning and Latinx Studies, including exploration of issues of economic and community development; affordable and inclusionary housing; and sustainability and resilience for the Latinx communities and other minoritized groups in Kansas City and beyond,” she said. “Not only will we learn to identify and analyze the challenges, but most importantly, rehearse solutions for them while empowering communities.”

Irazábal has conducted her planning research in Latinx communities in the United States and in countries of Latin America, including Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Caribbean. Throughout her career, she has been motivated by her concern for understanding social justice struggles as displayed in the transformation of urban space, which has allowed her to share her experiences and expertise with communities.

“I have conducted the majority of my urban planning research in the Latinx community. It sets the stage for how to improve practices and the well-being of the entire community, beyond Latinxs,” said Irazábal. “I know here in Kansas City there’s a Troost divide, which the city has not yet overcome. We need to integrate both sides of the community,” she said.

Irazábal explained the rapidly-growing term ‘Latinx’ (pronounced Latin X) as an all-inclusive term. When using ‘Latina or Latino,” some individuals might be excluded. Latinx includes individuals who do not identify as women or men in the LGBTQ community.

The new UMKC Center for Neighborhoods in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design is an example of where she can merge the two areas of research and engage the community.

“The goal of the center is to promote community development by training leaders, and allowing them to select projects they wish to work on,” Irazábal said. “The Center just graduated its first cohort of trainees, which includes neighborhood leaders and police officers. There is much hope for the LLS and the Center for Neighborhoods as instruments for community development, representing opportunities to learn how to work better, collaborate and create synergies,” she said.

Since her arrival in July, Irazábal has been attending meetings and learning about more initiatives at UMKC, which she will support.

“I have already attended meetings with the UMKC Hispanic Advisory Board and was impressed by how invested its members are in the LLS Program and UMKC at large, as well as their energy when promoting the university and our students,” she said. She has learned about upcoming Division of Diversity and Inclusion programs, including the Social Justice Book and Lecture Series, the Agapito Mendoza Scholarship Breakfast and the Avanzando program.

“Each of these is critical to the success of our students and to celebrate and reach out to the community,” she said.

Irazábal has some specific thoughts about enhancing the LLS Program, which include opportunities for growth.

“I want the program to mature and expand and offer an integrated graduate certificate, a Latina/Latino Studies major and eventually a master’s degree,” she said. “Also, I want the program to include Latina/Latino and Latin Americas Studies, attracting students and faculty to increase visibility and impact in the community,” she said. “I want the program to have a larger presence in our community and for the community to be engaged with us.”

Having arrived at UMKC by way of Columbia University in the City of New York, where she taught and conducted research for eight years, Irazábal worked with the Institute of Latin American Studies and collaborated with the Centers for Brazilian, Mexican and Caribbean Studies.

“Latinxists and Latin Americanists – researchers, teachers and activists – came together to create a synergy, a dialog, an enrichment to communities and students,” she said. “I want to stimulate that here at UMKC.”

While not in the classroom this semester, Irazábal will take the time to be become more familiar with UMKC and the LLS program before teaching in the spring.

“I will teach Introduction to Latina/Latino Studies. It will be a good way to get to know the students and for them to know me,” she said. “Later, I will teach Urban Planning and Latino Studies, which will help students understand community development and the LLS. It will have an impact on the minority community. That course is still being developed,” said Irazábal. She also wants to ensure the students continue to grow their research skills, including investigating, developing and testing hypotheses.

Invoking a line from poet June Jordan – “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” – and a phrase from activists César Chávez and Dolores Huerta – “Sí se puede (yes we can),” Irazábal illustrated her sense of mission and vision for what she and the community can do together.

Wandra Brooks Green, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Photo credit: Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Reposted from UMKC’s blog.

Center for Neighborhoods welcomes first group of Neighborhood Leaders

Date: June 6, 2016
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location:

4747 Troost


UMKC Center for Neighborhoods Welcomes First Cohort Group of Community Leaders!

Group will engage in 12 weeks of interactive classes and workshops that begin Monday June 6, 2016.

The UMKC Center for Neighborhoods in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design (AUP+D), will welcome the first group of neighborhood leaders who will participate the Center’s program. The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 6 at 4747 Troost Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

The initial cohort is the first of several groups, drawn from 35 people representing 17 neighborhoods, who will participate in the Center’s program.

Areas of focus will include: Neighborhood Governance and Leadership; Technology and Communications; Neighborhood Health and Safety; and Neighborhood Planning and Development. Cohort 1 represents neighborhoods located throughout Kansas City, Missouri and covers a wide range of neighborhoods in size, location and capacity from the Missouri River to South Kansas City.

“As an urban-serving university, UMKC has a charter-based responsibility to meet the needs of the urban population in the Kansas City region, and the Center of Neighborhoods is poised to serve as the catalyst for university-community partnerships that help meet the needs of these neighborhoods,” said Dina Newman, Director of the Center.

While Cohort 1 is full, interested neighborhood leaders are invited to sign up for Cohort 2, which is scheduled to begin in the fall.

After the kickoff event, the regularly scheduled Monday night classes will take place at Katz Hall, 5005 Rockhill Road on the UMKC campus.

For more information, please contact: Dina Newman at 816-235-6931, neighborhoods@umkc.edu or visit our website: Center website