Deafspace in Urban Planning: A Framework for Equity and Inclusion in Washington DC
Behm, Derrick J
Brandes, Uwe S.
It is becoming increasingly important for resiliency in rapidly transforming cities that urban planning be inclusive of marginalized communities. The Deaf and signing community represents one example of a historically marginalized linguistic minority that is being embraced in social inclusion practices of urban development in Washington, DC. This paper analyzes these recent practices through the framework of two major planning documents: the DC Comprehensive Plan and the DC Cultural Plan along with interviews with individual stakeholders. Findings show that while the Deaf and signing communities are starting to participate in planning processes, they continue to have limited resources and agency to achieve equity in many aspects of life. I argue that planners need to leverage the capacity of culture as a driver of social infrastructure change, instead of as an amenity; cultivate the role of the Deaf community in urban planning; and commit resources allocated to collecting more data on the Deaf community.
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