Statement on Social and Environmental Justice
The Community and Regional Planning Department’s goal is to tackle the most critical social issues of our time:
- What forces perpetuate social and environmental justice?
- Whose values are centered and whose are pushed to the margins?
- How do we interrogate our privilege and contribute, knowing or unknowingly, to social and environmental inequity?
- How can we resist injustice, challenge socio-environmental destruction and rebalance power?
- How do the attitudes and methods of planners amplify or challenge dominant values?
- What consitutes justice in diverse societies, and how can planners and planning contribute to a just path?
(the vision) Planning is future-oriented, rooted in the past and present. We envision dynamic, thriving communities founded in love, peace, equity and justice that have non exploitative economies and an abiding respect for natural worlds. We are grounded in community, drawing on local knowledge to act collectively, at all scales and across the urban/rural divide, in order to build just world systems.
(the challenges) Today, resurgent white nationalism, racism, settler colonialism and hetero-patriarchy threaten democracy, inclusion and equity. Fragile landscapes suffer from unprecedented climate disruption, contamination and destruction. Unequal urbanization and gentrification produce social vulnerability. The political, economic and social systems that prioritize profit over people and nature underlie these problems.
(the pathways and practices) A more just world is possible. To that end, our faculty values diverse methods of systemic change, working both inside and outside the institutions that we seek to transform. We all adhere to asset-based community development principles which build healthy, productive communities through the facilitation and participatory engagement of diverse constituencies. Our faculty employs different pathways and practices. Some use a 7 Generations model that details the relationship of responsible change over time and place. Others work outside the politics of recognition and state-centric claims making by recognizing futurity in everyday practices and enacting Indigenous sovereignty. Some integrate traditional and new sciences to sustain the earth’s natural environments. Others work with community-based organizations and social movements to change dominant narratives and build collective power as well as innovate in traditional built environments to preserve what is unique and adapt what is outdated. All our learning communities incorporate scholarship, applied skills and community engaged practice to create the tools necessary for visionary change.
(the place) The peoples and lands of New Mexico demonstrate the resiliency of local identities and landscapes. Through critical regional and global comparative frameworks, we learn from these unique lands, cultures, languages, and histories to bring collaborative insight into how to preserve diverse cultures, traditions, ways of life and histories while envisioning alternative futures.
(the department) CRP at UNM reflects the world we want by valuing diversity and opportunity for people of all races, ages, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual identities, abilities, and philosophies. We expect critical self-reflection and self-knowledge about positionality and privilege. We use grounded ethical frameworks that prioritize indigenous ways of knowing. Planning requires interrogating power relations, especially through the intersections of race, gender, class and sexuality, and it needs theory and action along with collaborative and community-based research. We integrate these frameworks to challenge the roots of oppression and push the boundaries of planning in order to forge sustainable economic, political and social systems that will sustain diversity and the natural world.