ECU, City of Greenville to host minority planning conference
(Aug. 5, 2005)
Encouraging minority and ethnic groups to become active in planning is central to creating strong, diverse communities, according to an East Carolina University professor of planning.
Mulatu Wubneh, chair of ECU’s planning department, will offer his perspective on ethnic groups and regional planning at the American Planning Association’s Black Community Conference August 12 in Greenville. The three-day conference, “Making Great Communities Happen Everywhere: Bridging the Gap between Urban and Rural,” is hosted by ECU’s Department of Planning and the City of Greenville’s Planning Department.
“Our goal is to help to increase participation of minorities in the planning profession,” Wubneh said. “There is a concern that the number of minorities involved in planning is very small. Our cities are changing. As our society becomes more diverse, we need to have a mix of people who reflect the basic characteristics of cities in the United States.”
Wubneh noted there are issues unique to the black community, such as housing and transportation, which pose specific challenges to planners, and to students who intend to become planners. “The kinds of people we are training to become planners must be comfortable with and know how to respond to those issues,” he said.
At the conference, Wubneh will discuss the role higher education can play in attracting more minority students to the planning profession. Other topics include historic preservation in the black community, ethical planning, community engagement strategies and prison complexes. Forums will take place in the Bate Building on the ECU campus. Wubneh will speak at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at ECU’s West End Dining Hall.