Towards Comprehensive Planning

Public Participation and Strengthening Community Capacity

Many New Yorkers are seeking a more coordinated and collaborative approach to land use planning. Join MAS on Thursday, March 31st from 5-6:30 PM ET to discuss how cities can strengthen community capacity and effectively engage residents while undergoing comprehensive planning. Featuring introductory remarks from Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, the program will then engage a panel of professionals in a cross-city conversation.

Currently, New York City does not have a comprehensive plan–a single document that facilitates future decision-making by specifying a city’s long-term development goals concerning land use, infrastructure, housing, open space, transit, and other types of services, in addition to addressing other concerns such as historic preservation, equity, resiliency, and sustainability. In December 2020, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson released a proposal for a new comprehensive planning framework outlined in Intro 2186 and the accompanying report, Planning Together. Although the City Council declined to bring the proposal to a vote by the end of 2021, MAS continues to advocate for community-based, comprehensive planning.

In 2021, MAS developed the Towards Comprehensive Planning series, virtual panel discussions contextualizing what comprehensive planning is, how it is implemented in other cities, and how it differs from New York City’s current land use process. In light of these conversations, in December 2021, MAS released Towards Comprehensive Planning: Moving Beyond Our Comfort Zone, a policy brief outlining ways New York City can advance a collaborative, community-based comprehensive planning framework. As newly elected officials come into office, MAS will continue hosting panel discussions in 2022 to advance the dialogue about comprehensive planning in New York City.

In this fourth virtual session in the Towards Comprehensive Planning series, MAS will host a discussion with panelists from Pittsburgh, Dallas, Oakland, and Detroit to discuss how cities can strengthen community capacity and effectively engage residents while undergoing comprehensive planning. How can cities balance community engagement with long-term, comprehensive planning? What types of engagement methods do cities, non-profits, and neighborhood organizations utilize to gain knowledge and feedback from residents? This fourth session will examine these themes.

There will be time for audience questions during the program as well. 1 CM Equity Credit and 1.5 CM Credit will be available for AICP members (event #9232213).

Read more about our panelists and speakers below.

Did you miss the program? A recording of the event be available on our YouTube page here soon!

Thursday, March 31
5:00 PM — 6:30 PM


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  • From left to right: Marquita "Keta" Price; Kaija Wuollet; Ose Akinlotan; Desiree “Dee” Powell.
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  • Moderator, MAS Director of Advocacy Spencer Williams; Opening Remarks Speaker, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.
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Desiree “Dee” Powell, Urban planner and Place creator, CNU-North Texas

Desiree “Dee” Powell is an Arlington, Texas native where she graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with her Bachelor’s and Masters in City & Regional Planning. She is currently a Planner in Southeast Texas and an urban designer in her own urban planning/design firm, DRBTS (Do Right By The Streets), which focuses on place keeping as a tool to implement temporary-to-permanent space activation projects in communities of color. DRBTS also specializes in breaking the complexities of zoning and its impact on communities and businesses of color.

Kaija Wuollet, Director of City Building, WXY Studio

Kaija joined WXY in 2019 as Director of City-Building, with over a decade of experience directing deisgn and developing strategies for projects in architecture, design, and strategic systems thinking. At WXY, Kaija directs varied projects merging strategy, master planning, urban design, architecture and policy.

Prior to WXY, Kaija led the noted design practice Laavu in Detroit, where she where she wore many hats, convened conversations between developers, municipal agencies, entrepreneurs, business owners, residents and nonprofits in order to build consensus on the role of architecture and design in urban interventions. These efforts were complex, layered in social, racial and economic challenges where design was often the last consideration. She led the Pink Zoning/Mix Tape Detroit study of zoning laws and new, innovative planning approaches commissioned by Maurice Cox of the Detroit’s Planning Development Department. Architectural works completed by Laavu included the award-winning, mixed-use Commons/MACC Development completed this year — and included in Detroit Design 139’s Inclusive Futures exhibition, as well as the popular El Club, a 250-person music venue with outdoor spaces in Detroit.

Kaija is the cofounder of the nonprofit Ponyride Maker Space and has served as a Detroit UNESCO City of Design Partner and on the boards of advisors of the Corktown Business Association and the Detroit Design Festival.

Ose Akinlotan, Senior Planner and Equity Liaison, City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning

Ose is a Senior Planner for the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning. She also serves as the department’s Equity Liaison and Project Manager for the Greater Hill District Master Plan process to update and adopt. Since joining the department in January of 2019, she project managed and co-drafted the Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan and the Planning Education Series. Ose earned a Master’s of Geography and Environmental Planning from Towson University and a bachelor’s in history from The Morgan State University. Before moving to Pittsburgh, Ose worked for the City of Dubuque Planning Department (Iowa). There, she served as Assistant Project Manager of the 2017 Comprehensive Plan, the primary GIS specialist for the department, an intercultural Competency Community Facilitator, and was a face of the “I’m a Dubuquer” Inclusive Campaign. She also worked as a freight and rail planner for the Iowa Department of Transportation, where she evaluated infrastructure conditions around the state.

Marquita “Keta” Price, the Hood Planner (she/her/Goddess)

Marquita “Keta” Price aka The Hood Planner is a third generation East Oakland native highly passionate about the intersections of racial equity in environmental and transportation planning. Keta’s passion for planning developed through her lived experience that led to curiosities about how gentrification has impacted low-income Black “Hoods” across the nation. Between January 2017 – March 2022 Keta Price served as the Director of Urban and Regional Planning for the East Oakland Collective. In this role she developed their Neighborhood & Transportation Planning focus area aimed to disrupt the Eurocentric status quo of the city planning industry by creating opportunities for more equitable community engagement and participatory planning. Currently, Keta works as an independent contractor for the San Leandro Creek Urban Greenway, Oakland Shoreline Leadership Academy and the East Oakland Neighborhood Initiative to further her commitments to climate and transportation equity in deep East Oakland.

Summer of 2021, Keta Price teamed up with a newly formed coalition of Oakland organizations called The Oakland People’s Plan (TOPP). Representing herself as an independent consultant, she worked together with the TOPP team to submit a community-centered proposal to the City of Oakland in response to Oakland’s Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a prime consultant to manage the City’s General Plan update. Although the proposal of the TOPP team was unsuccessful, they’re in discussions with the appropriate city staff to better understand how this type of model can be more successful in the future.

Keta Price proudly received an Associates of Mathematics and Natural Science from Merritt College, Home of the Black Panthers.

Antonio Reynoso, Borough President, Brooklyn Borough President, Office of the Brooklyn Borough President(OPENING REMARKS)

Elected as the first Latino Brooklyn Borough President, Antonio Reynoso is a native Brooklynite, born and raised along with two sisters in South Williamsburg to Dominican immigrants. Antonio’s early life was one of financial insecurity and reliance on social benefits while he also worked and contributed to his family’s livelihood. However, he found opportunities through education.

Education was the key to making it in life, and his parents instilled that belief in a young Reynoso. He attended La Salle Academy on a full-scholarship and received a BA in Political Science from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, also on a scholarship.

After graduation, he returned to Brooklyn and began working for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), an international collection of autonomous community-based organizations that advocated for low- and moderate-income families.

In 2009, he joined the staff of City Councilwoman Diana Reyna, working in constituent services and quickly rose to become Chief of Staff. When the term-limited Councilwoman stepped down Antonio Reynoso, for the first time, ran for elective office as a candidate to replace his former mentor as City Council Representative for Council District 34, representing portions of Bushwick, Greenpoint, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and Ridgewood, Queens.

As a member of the City Council, Antonio Reynoso demonstrated his commitment to advocating for the residents he represented, and the thousands more throughout the city with similar needs. He focused his energy on quality-of-life issues, including waste-management, policing, tenant safety, transportation, and land-use where he took the lead in advocating for the rezoning of Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Experiencing and witnessing injustices in multiple facets of everyday life, he has dedicated his career to advocating for bold, progressive legislation citywide that improves the lives of his family, friends, neighbors, and constituents.

As two-time Chair of the Sanitation Committee, he had a resounding impact on a major concern that affected both the environment, and health of New Yorkers, as he led the charge to reduce the tonnage of trash in Northern Brooklyn by 50 percent. As thousands of Black and Latino New Yorkers were arbitrarily being stopped and frisked by members of the NYPD, Reynoso was instrumental in the passage of the Right to Know Act. Witnessing the rise of harassment of building tenants by unscrupulous landlords using construction and repairs as modes of harassment by making residency untenable, Reynoso had a crucial role in passing the Tenant Safety Act to protect tenants’ rights.

Now, Reynoso is serving Brooklyn to make the borough the progressive capital of the world by building on his extensive record in the City Council. Reynoso’s twin guiding principles throughout his life, have always been the concepts of justice and equity, and he has vowed to fight each and every day to give all Brooklynites the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Antonio Reynoso lives in Williamsburg with his wife and two sons.

Spencer Williams, AICP, ASSOC., AIA, Director of Advocacy, MAS (MODERATOR)

Spencer Williams is the Director of Advocacy at MAS. Before joining MAS, he worked on growth management and equity planning in the Northwest, working to advance 20-minute neighborhoods as part of a healthy, connected city as a member of the City of Portland’s Urban Design Studio. He also supported the City of Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda as an advocate, City Planning Commissioner, and Council Staff. At MAS, Spencer heads up the Livable Neighborhoods Program (LNP), which helps local leaders in under-resourced communities develop the knowledge and tools that they need to participate effectively in public land use review processes and engage in creative, community-based design and planning. He is a certified planner who holds a Master of Urban & Regional Planning degree from Portland State University and B.F.A. in Architecture from Savannah College of Art and Design. He currently resides in Brooklyn.