CRP 385C

Decoloniality means thinking critically about planning paradigms and assumptions, focusing on the ‘co-production’ of knowledge together with community members, and assessing the role of institutions of all sorts in terms of their role in reproducing dominant knowledge formations. The work to decolonize planning must consider the ways in which Western and Cartesian forms of knowledge production have been centered in planning, rendering it a field beholden to technical rationality that implicitly or explicitly devalues and forecloses on alternative and “other” planning approaches. This course will review approaches to planning that challenge these long-held assumptions about planning knowledge in order to foster decolonizing perspectives in the field. The course emerges from the understanding that informal communities along with their allies have always practiced planning, but in forms that have been invalidated through the hegemonic knowledge structures of the professionalized field of planning. This course combines readings and discussions in a seminar format with training and practice in planning research and practice methods with decolonizing potentials.

We will read texts from authors in planning but also social theory, anthropology, geography, and urban studies, including authors such as Tanja Winkler (University of Cape Town, South Africa) and Catalina Ortiz (University College London, UK). Since these are not new concerns in planning, the readings will also include foundational authors such as Paolo Freire, and we will draw connections to other areas of inquiry in planning, such as abolitionist planning and insurgent planning. We will also pursue readings and hands-on practice in potentially decolonizing methods such as oral histories, testimonials, photovoice, ESRI Story Maps, indigenous video, and participatory mapping. We will deploy these methods in part through co-productive research with residents in Dove Springs, Austin, who are partners in a project to develop a community-based park in the community. We will build on a Practicum project from 2020-21, which has now been funded by the City of Austin, and work with residents to develop interpretive signage, murals, and other representations to reflect community histories.


Community and Regional Planning


Fall 2023