Re: Columbus Ohio’s legacy of racism in urban planning

Hi friends, Ezra here. It’s been a hot minute since we shared some content… Unfortunately I had to withhold an episode for t*r*a*u*m*a reasons, but I’ve recently been involved in a lot of conversations about environmental justice and I wanted to revisit a topic that I introduced in this space in 2020. Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, coinciding with the beginning of pandemic lockdown protocols, my community was engaging in intensive conversations about what systemic racism looks like in our city.

I was motivated to publish an episode discussing aspects of Columbus’ city planning history that exemplify systemic racism. In this updated version of the episode, I speak on redlining specifically and data points that demonstrate relation between the built environment and worse socio-economic and health outcomes for Black Columbus residents.

Links to listen below.

Columbus Ohio is all too typical of the physical imprint of racism on urban spaces. Redlining, urban highways, white flite, prohibitive zoning… All of these things and more have manifested in the economic and racial segregation that plagues Columbus. This episode shares some insight on Columbus’ “urban problems” and offers several resources for planners and non-planners alike to learn more and do better.


Discussed in this episode: Strong Women Strong Places, Tamika Butler, Dr. Destiny Thomas, The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, Columbus Ohio Redlining Maps,Kirwan Institute Study on Infant Mortality,  500 Cities Health Data for Columbus, University of Toronto Study, Communication So White Reading List

Thanks to:
Donnie ‘Rosy’ Ross for theme ‘Feeling Fool’
Aaron Thomas Art for our album cover

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Episode 8: Danceable Cities

This episode we chat about dance as a consideration in urban design. In China, millions of residents participate in urban dance as a way to enhance their health and foster social connection. These groups practice in parks and ‘waste spaces’ around cities, accompanied often by live music. However, this practice has run into some resistance from the central and city governments. Complaints of too much noise have forced cities to ban these dancing retirees to parking lots and bridge underpasses. But the dancers persist, sometimes as an act of resistance. We unpack all that an more this episode of STEMS and Leaves.

Links:

Designing the Danceable City: How Residents in Beijing Cultivate Health and Community Ties Through Urban Dance’  by Caroline Chen

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Episode 7: Dr. Sujata Emani

Ep 7: Sujata Emani

In this episode, Sujata Emani and I spend a good amount of time discussing women of massive determination and how we work everyday to emulate their example. Sujata also shares some insight into her identity as a caregiver for her grandmother; an identity that was chosen for her and certainly changed the trajectory of her life in her mid-twenties.

Discussed in this episode:
Beltway Science Podcast
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Department of Energy
National Labs
Research Article: Designing the Danceable City

Credits for album art and show theme song here

Episode 2: Dr Woodburn McNair

This episode features Dr Amber Woodburn McNair of the Ohio State University. She serves as an assistant professor in the Knowlton School as well as the Center for Aviation Studies (both within OSU’s College of Engineering. We sat down to discuss Dr Woodburn’s research and experiences in academia and how her identity and presentation as a woman has affected her journey. She also shared some wonderful advice about navigating the murky waters that await after graduation and the importance of keeping the hustle strong.