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Community & Regional Planning

Statement on Justice

The rich diversity of people is a great resource that CRP attempts to nurture. Racism, sexism and homophobia are persistent and pervasive evils that undermine the possibilities for creativity and peace. Prejudice, implicit bias and structural inequality affect all planning and elements of society. Grappling honestly with questions of bias is an intrinsic part of what it means to be a Planner. Among these questions are:

  • Why and by what means does one culture or group impose its values on another?
  • What allows a “dominant” culture to push other values to the margins?
  • What means of individual and group resistance are available against the resulting imbalance of power?
  • What circumstances give rise to such resistance; when and why does it fail to arise?
  • What cultural models can be found for societies without significant racist, sexist, or homophobic beliefs?
  • How do the attitudes and methods of Planners amplify, rigidify, or challenge dominant values, especially when embodied in policy or physical design?
  • What constitutes justice in a multicultural society, and how can Planning contribute to its achievement

The faculty considers it of vital importance to create a university climate in which all of us can unlearn those prejudices with which we were raised. In both academic study and personal interaction, we aim to replace bias with a healthy and active respect for the common traits and wonderful differences which, taken together, make us human.

The CRP program also seeks to understand and exercise ecological responsibility, regionally and globally. Both in coursework and informally, students and faculty are asked to think together on this pressing issue. To create a just system for global distribution of resources and population; to halt and reverse the ongoing mass extinction of irreplaceable organisms (including human minorities); and to repair, redesign, and recycle our biologically-damaging infrastructure – these will be the life’s work of this generation. The above questions about prejudice can all be directed at the ecological situation; cultural and ecological issues must in fact be resolved interdependently. Rising to this formidable challenge requires serious commitment from Planning students and faculty, both in their personal and professional lives.

New Mexico, both culturally and ecologically on the margins of the United States, provides excellent opportunities to study issues which are often marginalized, and to support voices from outside the “mainstream”.