Part 1 in a series on the author’s return to guest speaking at East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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We Cannot Plan From Our Desks. [Collage by artist Jax Arriola @mijacutsdeep]

Esteban E. Torres High School in East Los Angeles has the distinction of being one of three public high schools in the U.S. with an urban planning program. Launched in 2010, the East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy Department of Urban Planning and Design (ELARA) at Torres High teaches students the fundamentals of city planning practice. Community activism is core to its curriculum. The teachers who organized ELARA drew inspiration from the community’s legacy of Chicano/a-led civil rights…


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Cal Poly Pomona urban planning students and Jonathan Pacheco Bell discuss Embedded Planning and the Medina Family ADU Story. [Photo by Courtney Knapp]

Embedded Planning is a new form of street-level praxis. As I explain in my opening salvo, “We Cannot Plan From Our Desks,” Embedded Planning situates the work of planners on the ground. Embedded planners take part in a community’s daily life, resulting in stronger relationships with stakeholders, increased public participation, and better-informed ordinances, policies and plans that reflect a community’s “street realities.” As a result, embedded planners are better equipped to advance equity in their work.

Inspiration sprang from Advocacy, Equity, Radical, and Insurgent planning theories. I also drew insights from embedded librarianship, social work, community organizing, and Lipsky’s street-level…


An op-ed by a CSULA alumnus

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STRIKE warning at California State University, Los Angeles, April 5, 2016. [Photo by author]

Author’s note: I finished writing this op-ed on April 7, 2016, days away from the start of the universitywide “Fight for Five” strike. Later that day, the California Faculty Association and California State University agreed to resume negotiations and the strike was suspended pending the outcome. Both sides have announced a tentative agreement which includes a 10.5% raise over 3 years. The proposed contract now goes to union members for ratification. The university’s Board of Trustees must also approve it. While I’m thrilled that unionized faculty and staff may finally get the fair wages…

Jonathan Pacheco Bell, MAUP, MLIS @c1typlann3r

#Support me at: ko-fi.com/c1typlann3r #EmbeddedPlanning Creator💡 #WeCannotPlanFromOurDesks™️

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