Putting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to Work - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Putting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to Work

Leading a cultural shift to foster equitable development in the spaces where we live, work and play

Leading and thinking inclusively calls for a different language and approach, particularly among planners, developers, urban designers, community organizers and others working to strengthen Chicago’s built and social infrastructure.

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Land use and zoning, housing policy and infrastructure planning have been vehicles for racism. Historically and intentionally, these tools have segregated neighborhoods, disconnected communities of color from opportunity, and left their air, land and water polluted.  Recently, planning and development practices have exacerbated racial inequities in health, wealth and climate resilience in our cities and suburbs. As we move toward recovery from a global health pandemic and embrace a nationwide movement for racial justice, now is the time for shared learning and resources to enact institutional change. 

The Metropolitan Planning Council and Elevated Chicago are pleased to present this event, the second in a series of virtual workshops to help leaders in planning and community development to make equity, diversity and inclusion principles real. Please join us for any of these interactive sessions, which offer candid conversation, practical tools, and accountability methods for applying an equity framework to everyday challenges.

This series of workshops are funded by Convergence Partnership and the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC). Please direct questions or request webinar presentation materials to Debbie Liu.

Power and Privilege: Keeping Equity at the Forefront

Have you been wondering how we keep racial equity at the forefront as we make our way through COVID-19 and beyond? This small interactive session reviewed recent headlines and scenarios to draw out racial equity principles, generate concrete ideas of how to use these principles, and invite participants to embed them into their own practice is led by Tuyet Le. She is an independent consultant for nonprofits and government. Previously, Ms. Le served as executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago for over 18 years.

From Ally to Accomplice: How to Actively Use Your Power and Privilege to Improve Diversity Equity, and Inclusion in the Planning Profession

Recently, many planning professionals and advocates have had to come to grips with how their work within the built environment can help to perpetuate institutional racism and injustice. With this new revelation, it’s more important than ever to take an active role in dismantling systems that do not protect society’s most vulnerable communities. This workshop pinpoint actions for how self-identified allies can leverage their power and privilege to create meaningful advancements towards diversity, equity, and inclusion within their organizations.

The Invisible Culture of White Supremacy: How to Move Toward Racially Equitable Outcomes Even During a Global Pandemic

Amidst the economic, and racial crises and a global pandemic, built environment professionals are pressed to critically understand the increased influence of white supremacy on every aspect of their work. In this webinar, Heidi Massey from CommunityConnective and Kim Casey from UCAN, will unpack Tema Okun's Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture and show how these characteristics may show up in the workplace right now with even more gusto and force. The invisibility of white culture and how its impact is magnified by these various crises along with a newly remote  workforce will be explored in an attempt to learn how to build infrastructure that facilitates more equitable outcomes. This will be an interactive session and attendance will be capped to enable small group discussion.

Leading Inclusively in Times of Crises

Inclusive leadership plays a critical role during crises. History has shown us that with it, we can face challenges to our workplaces and region, such as COVID-19 and its aftermath. This workshop was originally held on April 30, 2020 with leader Deb Baldwin, founder of Human Resources - Diversity Advisors (HRDA). The webinar recording and resources referenced can be found below.


    • Created by Elevated Chicago for leaders and practitioners working on the front lines of community engagement. However, the principles are applicable in a variety of contexts.
    • Used to helps leaders to identify their unconscious bias or what assumptions a leader might make, preferences they have in relation to things like weight, gender, age, race, etc.
    • The CDC has developed guidelines to reduce stigma including racism and scapegoating some groups are facing due to COVID-19
  • Book, Inclusion Nudges Guidebook: Practical Techniques for Changing Behaviour, Culture & Systems to Mitigate Unconscious Bias and Create Inclusive Organisations by Tinna C. Nielsen and Lisa Kepinski
    • Practical techniques for changing behavior, culture & systems. Can be purchased at your local bookstore.

More posts by Debbie

  1. Healing our individual and collective trauma: promoting healing-centered policy in a post-COVID world

    • By Debbie Liu and Chloe Gurin-Sands, MPC, Jim Poole, NAMI Chicago, Alexa James, NAMI Chicago
    • Apr 30, 2021
    • Post a comment

All posts by Debbie »

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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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