Student Publications

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Raza Planning


This paper is a reflection of my work as an employee of the Resource Center for Raza Planning and Project Manager for the Isleta Boulevard and Village Centers Sector Development Plan, which began in the summer of 2004 and continues today. In combination with the sector plan draft that was submitted to Bernalillo County in July 2005, this paper also serves as my professional project for the partial fulfillment of a masters degree in Community and Regional Planning at the University of New Mexico. In this reflection, I examine the role of the Resource Center for Raza Planning (RCRP) as a 'reflective intermediary' between the community and the government throughout the planning process for the Isleta Boulevard and Village Centers Sector Development Plan. I consider the outcome of the County Planning Commission (CPC) hearing on September 7, 2005 through the lens of a reflective practitioner, community-based planner, and member of a community-focused organization. First, I begin by introducing RCRP and the planning process for the Isleta Boulevard and Village Centers Sector Development Plan. Then I examine RCRP's identity as a 'reflective intermediary' and explore how the term describes RCRP, its staff and its work. Next, I take a close look at the CPC hearing and consider the reasons for the one-year deferral of the sector plan. I review some happenings post-CPC hearing and what they can teach RCRP about its practice. Next, I look at ways to move beyond the CRP hearing and pass the sector plan. Finally, I consider RCRP as an organization and offer some thoughts about its direction and future as a successful organization hoping to continue positively impacting grassroots communities in New Mexico. I end with what I hope could be a new objective for RCRP that would reaffirm its organizational principles and allow RCRP to continue enacting true, long-lasting change in New Mexico's traditional communities. In this time of transition for RCRP, when the organization is facing changing leadership and a staff that is constantly in flux, this analysis looks at how an organization like RCRP can stay true to its founding principles and staff of reflective practitioners while operating effectively in mainstream settings that require technical expertise and instruction. The analytical framework for examining RCRP's reflective intermediary status come from the experience of developing the Isleta Boulevard sector plan and understanding RCRP's role through the lens of Donald A. Schön's classic The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals think in Action. I hope the outcome of this analysis will offer insights for future planning processes that RCRP might undertake as it examines how to best manage a planning process when the typical constants like the myth of expertise are not espoused. For future RCRP projects, those answers lie not in changing its organizational structure of philosophy, but in better relating to and acting within the traditional structures that still govern politics and in changing the way outsiders view expertise, professionalism, and capacity.

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Latina o planning, community empowerment, grassroots planning, Bernalillo County Planning Commission, Isleta Boulevard and Village Centers Sector Development Plan