On October 5, the American Planning Association’s National Capital Area Chapter held its 2023 Annual Conference at the University of Maryland College Park. This year’s theme: Housing Affordability in DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Planner Pamela Nkwantabisah, a University of Maryland alumna, was among the presenters, joining a panel to discuss: “Reimagining Restorative Justice: Transforming Lakeland’s Housing Landscape for Equity and Empowerment.”
Ms. Nkwantabisah’s presentation was rooted in the Community Planning Studio Fall of 2022 class at the University of Maryland. Its continuation is entrusted to the Fall 2023 Studio class.
The session delved into the impactful story of Lakeland, shedding light on the consequences of the City of College Park’s urban renewal plan. Lakeland’s history highlights how housing policies affect education, services and transportation. Discriminatory policies confined African Americans to Lakeland, forcing them to develop essential infrastructures independently. Enacted to alleviate flooding, the urban renewal plan of the 1970s and 1980s led to demolishing many family homes and displacing 104 out of 150 households, causing immeasurable losses in housing and amenities. To rectify these repercussions, restorative justice emerges as a path.
The session explored strategies to confront the aftermath, including reactive approaches to mend past wrongs and proactive methods for community resilience. By dissecting scenarios—Status Quo, Reformist, and Revolutionary—the presentation highlighted Lakeland’s restorative journey by identifying historical injustices in housing and envisioning transformative futures. It examined potentials to mend discriminatory housing policies’ impact on Lakeland and its residents, by fostering bonds and resilience for the future in an effort to reimagine existing political and socioeconomic systems in pursuit of justice and equity.
Ms. Nkwantabisah presented alongside Ms. Jona Elson and Ms. Asia Jones on behalf of both Fall 2022 and 2023 classes of the Community Planning Studio Course.
During the day-long conference, more than 200 attendees had the opportunity to engage with leading experts and students, and witness the unveiling of groundbreaking research and innovations in housing affordability. The conference also featured networking opportunities and social events that fostered collaboration among participants. To learn more about this project, the report is available here.
Pamela Nkwantabisah is a Land Use Planner in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Use Planning and Development and Zoning Law practice groups. She may be reached at PONkwantabisah@mmcanby.com. To learn more about the firm’s Land Use Planning and Development and Zoning Law practices, click here.