Episode 25: Black Joy in Public Space with Mariah Williams

A black girl expressing herself in public space in Philadelphia, PA (photo by Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman)

The recent discussions, protests, and removal of confederate monuments following the events in Charlottesville have helped revive the conversation around who we are as a country, who we were, and who we want to be — as memorialized in our public space. Mariah’s recent story in Next City discusses a hopeful shift in the installation of a new statue — that of a black woman, Maggie Walker — in Richmond, Virginia. In contrast to this, however, she also found herself asked to leave during a celebratory gathering of black women on a separate occasion because of a lack of a permit.

What does public space mean if it’s not for everyone? How does our civic space and our regulations reflect what — or who — we value? What can we do to improve the urban environment to not only allow for, but encourage, expressions of black joy? Join us as we continue our series of conversations around Next City content and unpack what the urban planning field needs to be more inclusive and community-oriented.

If you like these conversations and advocating for human-scale cities, you can donate to our efforts on our Patreon page at www.patreon.com/thirdwaveurbanism. Thank you to our supporters, and thank you all for listening, sharing, and doing what you do!

As always, you can keep up with our thoughts and send us your comments on Twitter or Instagram: 
Katrina can be found at @think_katrina
Kristen can be found at @blackurbanist

Articles referenced in this episode:

Main article from Next City — Cities Should Celebrate, Not Suppress, Black Joy in Public Space — by Mariah Williams: https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/celebrate-black-joy-public-spaces

Mariah’s organization, Black Girls Meet Up: https://www.blackgirlsmeetup.org/

Mansplaining the City — Alissa Walker’s article in Curbed that interviews Katrina + Kristen about Third Wave Urbanism and Women Led Cities: https://www.curbed.com/2017/8/16/16151000/mansplain-gentrification-define-richard-florida-saskia-sassen

Monument Lab in Philadelphia — a new way to co-create our monuments? http://monumentlab.muralarts.org/

Intro and closing music is “Urban Life” by Gustavs Strazdin used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode