To help diversify the field of planning, the Division of Regional + City Planning (RCPL) has adopted a plan to recruit underrepresented students. Part of these efforts include helping students to gain more experience about what it is like to work with diversifying cities and neighborhoods.
On September 13, 2019, RCPL students visited four planning-related organizations to engage with these issues, including the:
- Latino Community Development Agency (LCDA). While visiting the LCDA, students got a first-hand look into how nonprofits provide social services and implement community development tools. These nonprofits are important institutions that can help immigrant populations with bilingual, bicultural needs.
- City of Oklahoma City Planning Department. The Planning Department gave an overview of the multiple ways they serve the city, including transportation, affordable housing, and various neighborhood initiatives. Students also met with alumni from Spring 2019 – Max Harris and Cameron Conyers – who shared their experiences in the planning department and gave them a tour of the planning department’s various units.
- BlackSpace Oklahoma and the historic Douglas High School/current site of Page Woodson. With RCPL alum Gina Sofola, students learned about the work of BlackSpace Oklahoma and her work as a private consultant to help develop Page Woodson. She also gave students a tour of Page Woodson and how her work has incorporated Oklahoma’s Black history into the built environment and design.
- Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma (NACOK). Students met with the entire staff of NACOK and how they build neighborhood associations. They shared their experiences of working with residents to organize around issues such as new commercial developments, sidewalks, homeowners’ associations, and social events.
These visits gave students insights into planning jobs that are in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors.
Special thanks to the Latino Community Development Agency, City of Oklahoma City Planning Department, BlackSpace Oklahoma, and the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma for sharing their time with our students and faculty.