top of page

The Black Experiences
with Planning in Canada

Our Collaborative Project to better understand the nature of structural racism in Canada through the planning process

Canadian planning has a tense history with/in Black communities shaped by a legacy of racism and settler colonialism. Since the first arrival of people of African descent, informal and formal practices of settlement, land tenure and use, urban and regional planning, and development have been shaped by anti-Black racism and White supremacy, creating inequitable outcomes for Black communities until this day. However, Black communities, individuals, and planning practitioners have developed and still enact practices rooted in Black knowledge and traditions, which have enabled Black spaces to survive and thrive through resistance, resilience, and creativity. Still, the field of planning has yet to centre Black experiences, priorities, and knowledge in practice, theory, and education. The Black Experiences with Planning in Canada (BEPIC) research partnership seeks to learn from the lived experiences of Black communities and planners in order to create conceptual and practical planning tools that enable more equitable outcomes in Black communities, but also for diverse publics more broadly. BEPIC has been conceptualized by the Black Planning Project, together with community and academic partners committed to racial and spatial justice.

The Black Experiences with Planning in Canada (BEPIC) partnership seeks to Adopt an assets-based Framework

BEPIC’s main goals are


1) to explore and document the experiences of Black communities and practitioners with/in/against planning in Canada;


2) to create a framework for community-based, Black-centered, Black-informed planning practices; and

3) to pilot the framework with Black individuals, community organizations, and planners working with predominantly or historically Black communities.


By building on the knowledge of Black communities and planners, this research will help challenge dominant planning discourses, address questions of Black exclusion and anti-Black racism in planning, amplify community-led planning practices, and inform planning pedagogy and the training of future planners, especially emerging Black planners. Ultimately, BEPIC will propose tools grounded in Black knowledge and traditions, which can be adopted by Black communities and planners to preserve and strengthen Black contributions to planning, community-building, and city-making.

Meet The Project Team

Words from Our Project Leaders

Quotes from Toronto Metropolitan University article

“The Black Planning Project is leading powerful work to amplify Black voices and perspectives in the field of planning, and it is a privilege to collaborate to grow a partnership that can take that work in new directions. Universities can play an important role in supporting community-initiated research, which in turn can transform how planning is taught and practiced. This grant will allow us to do precisely that: centring the knowledge and experiences of Black communities and planners in order to rethink mainstream planning tools and approaches through a racial justice lens.” 

  • Dr. Magdalena Ugarte, Director, BEPIC, Assistant Professor, Toronto Metropolitan University,

Co-director Abigail Moriah from the Black Planning Project notes that this research will help build an understanding of Black planning that can shape practice. “Our goal is to explore how planning can play a role in creating more equitable outcomes in Black communities, specifically through highlighting asset-based approaches and tools that are grounded in Black city and community building knowledge and traditions,” she said, adding that those tools can be used to inform both planning education and training as well as amplify community-led planning practices. Other collaborators include Black-led community organizations from Halifax and Toronto, Black planners from across Canada, and additional researchers and experts in areas such as planning, community building and Black studies.

  • Abigail Moriah, MCIP RPP, Co-Director, BEPIC, Founder, The Black Planning Project 

bottom of page