“Nothing about us without us is for us.” –Slogan popularized by South African disability rights activists
At WSCO, our Equitable Development Action Circle is working together with resident leaders and collaborators throughout the Twin Cities region to create transformative economic and community development opportunities. We are building a pathway to engage our neighbors in decision making by providing space to access land use knowledge and planning in five ways:
- Our Equitable Development Scorecard Team - click here to learn more about how WSCO is approaching our Scorecard search in 2023!
- Participating in research and decisionmaking with The West Side Flats Displacement Project
- Engaging directly with developers at our West Side Voices Forum and other face-to-face meetings
- Participating in developing the 10 Year Community Plan
- Attending our educational series, Visions for Our Collective Future
We are reaching out to Black, Indigenous, People of Color, youth and elders, renters, queer folks, people living with disabilities, women, and immigrant communities so that they can fully participate in land use decisions that impact their quality of life.
Why does this matter?
“We need a seat at the table, but we also need more than that,” said Kai Andersen, WSCO’s Equitable Development Director (pictured, above left). “How we are able to fully enter into land use decision making processes is a vital first step. Knowledge of current land use practices and more traditional education about land use, urban planning, and community development is not enough for marginalized communities to feel fully involved. Sharing the power and understanding of land use, zoning, community development and urban planning processes must feel rooted in cultural belonging. Our vision for equitable development and land use decisions must feel safe and affirming in ways that speak to the most marginalized residents on Saint Paul’s West Side. We need to start thinking and acting with new, bold, and creative ways of knowing land use as an alternative to traditionally white centered and male dominated urban planning practice.”
There are ways of providing space for land use discussions that can help us remember our past with an intention for real change. This requires courageous risk-taking and shifting our mindset. “We want to transform how we think by calling out white supremacy and other exclusionary policies in urban planning history, present, and possibilities for our future,” said Andersen. We want to know better ways of doing community development by sharing stories, pooling resources and engaging creatively with healing in mind.”