City Forum: Changing the Color of Planning

Friday April 19, 2019 , noon to 1:30 p.m.
City Forum, Miriam Solis, Caleb Roberts, Charlton Lewis

Students undertaking graduate study in planning and design fields and the professionals practicing in these fields are not representative of the communities where they work. This “diversity deficit”  has contributed to a history of planning interventions that have overlooked the needs of communities of color, or worse, had explicit adverse impacts on those communities. Looking forward, it is crucial that the planning and design fields strive to create an increasingly diverse professional workforce to address the needs of communities affected by rapid change and global pressures.


This City Forum event will feature a panel discussion with faculty and a CRP alum on barriers to African American and Hispanic/Latino students entering graduate planning programs and the local planning and design professions. The panel discussion and question and answer session will also focus on how historic barriers to diversity can be overcome to create more inclusive and sophisticated planning and design practices.




Charlton Lewis, M-ARCH – Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

Charlton Lewis is a lecturer who specializes in the areas of architectural design and construction. Lewis has taught continuously at The University of Texas School of Architecture since the Fall of 2006. In addition to teaching studio and construction courses, Lewis has taught various seminar courses including, most recently, Race and Gender: By Design, which examined design relative to the narratives of race, gender, and diversity. Lewis earned his Master and Bachelor of Architecture degrees from the UT Austin School of Architecture. Lewis maintains an active design practice principally focused on residential design and construction, and has been associated with the firms Dick Clark Architecture, Black and Vernooy Architects, Mell Lawrence Architects, and Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects. Lewis currently serves as Co-Chair of the UTSOA Committee of Diversity and Equity. 

Caleb Roberts, MSCRP, 2018 Northwest Texas co-director Texas Low Income Housing Information Service

Caleb is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a MS in Community and Regional Planning. His bachelor degree is in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. He is a planner and analyst focusing on research and organizing around affordable housing issues in Fort Worth, Lubbock, and Amarillo. Hailing from Milwaukee, WI his background is in community organizing in communities of color around issues of transportation and economic development. In his free time, he is an avid writer and sports fanatic. 

Miriam Solis, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Community and Regional Planning

Dr. Solis’ research focuses on the links between social justice, infrastructure, and environmental planning. Her most recent research investigates how these relationships play out in the rebuilding of wastewater infrastructure systems in older American cities. Miriam’s scholarly pursuits are informed by professional practice, including work for the cities of San Francisco, New York, and Richmond, CA, as well as for the Greenlining Institute. In 2017, she was named a Switzer Fellow by the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation in recognition of her achievements as an environmental leader.