“These individuals are trailblazers in a field of few Blacks…and are changing the face and the landscape of planning.”
Abigail Moriah, MCIP, RPP is a facilitator and connector. She is passionate about connecting people, mentorship, creating spaces for belonging as well as building an equity focus in the field of planning. In all of her work, Abigail seeks to build bridges across sectors, where she can encourage intentional and meaningful engagement between community, practitioners and academic institutions with the goal of redefining how planning is done in communities through practice and research. She currently works as a Senior Development Manager for New Commons Development .
Why the Black Planning project?
Throughout my career, I have met a few urban planners who are Black; however, I have noticed the profound and often negative impact of planning in communities of colour. Planners working on projects in these communities are rarely Black. It was uncommon for me to find a colleague that looks like me, and I felt quite isolated, wondering where were the other Blacks working in this field. If I saw a Black planner, I felt I needed to connect with them and hear their stories to validate my experiences and to understand their motivations for entering the field. While I desired to see more Blacks enter urban planning, I felt limited in how I could make a difference.
Telling my story is the first step. My creative inspiration came from spending a summer listening to podcasts about people of colour who were trailblazers in their field. This drove me to learn about the journey of Blacks working in urban planning and why they chose to pursue a career in this field. Before I knew it, the Black Planning Project was born.
I hope that The Black Planning Project becomes a space to promote the contributions of Black planners working in Canada, build community amongst Black planners, and, most importantly, be used an educational tool to inspire Black youth to engage in planning and creating spaces and places where we live, work, worship and play.