White Spatial Planning Practices: Deconstructing Narratives around Race, Space, and Privilege
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Racial inequality in the United States persists across multiple measures of health, wealth, and education despite changes in laws and policies to end de jure segregation. One reason is the way representations of space reproduces cycles of benefit to white people. This dissertation seeks to answer a central question: What is the role of white privilege in the production of space? To answer the overarching question in this dissertation, I ask four supporting questions 1) what are the changes in Black-white equality since the 1950s across multiple measures, including education, criminal justice, citizenship rights, health, housing, and poverty? 2) what is the relationship between abstract space and white privilege? 3) what have been the dominant discourses used in Atlanta's planning-related documents that ultimately justified the displacement of Black communities during urban renewal and the BeltLine redevelopment projects? 4) what counter-narratives did Black communities in Atlanta use to challenge white spatialities? A better understanding of whiteness and space guides planners to reframe urban problems not as the disadvantages found in communities of color but that of reproducing benefits for white people.