Colloquium XIV: Adding Voices to the LA Planning Story

October 28, 2017
Huntington Library & Gardens
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

Los Angeles has always been a city of multiple cultures and social groups, and planning for growth, infrastructure and development here has been continuous. Typically, the history has emphasized the roles occupied by the majority. As a result, important planning work done by women, Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, and gays and lesbians has routinely been overlooked or excluded. These omissions have not only deprived many planners and communities of due acknowledgment, but also disregarded the lessons they might offer to all practitioners and scholars in the field.

Adding Voices to the LA Planning Story will begin to tell some of the many stories missing from the mainstream narrative about the region. This colloquium will bring together key individuals who helped transform the practice of planning here, alongside current practitioners and community leaders. They will share insights and experiences on different facets of community building, including the making and implementing of plans for diverse local communities.

Who were some of the pioneering leaders that helped open up the planning profession or effect grass-roots change in diverse communities? What challenges did women, planners of color, and professionals from underrepresented groups face as they navigated the structures and expectations of a white male majority? And what do these past experiences tell us about our current and future challenges in planning for an ever-changing region?

Please join us as we shine a light on the long-overlooked social history of planning practice in Los Angeles.

EVENT PROGRAM (speakers confirmed-to-date)

Time Description
9:00 Check-in/Refreshments/Mingle
9:45 Historical Overview (30 minutes)
Introduction to the history of diversity within Southern California planning practice and among pioneering planners.                                                                                                                                             Speaker: Eric Avila, Professor of Chicana/o Studies, History, and Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles
10:15 From the Inside Out
Who worked for change from within the organized profession, by assuming a role that had previously been available only to others, and not at all to certain groups? How did women, planners of color and LGBTQ planners build their own places within the established profession?                                                                                                                                                                                                               Moderator: Katherine Perez-Estolano, Associate Principal/Cities Leader, ARUP                                                                                                                                                                                                              Panelists:

  • Clifford Graves, University of Southern California; former General Manager, Community Development, for Los Angeles and Carson and former CAO, County of San Diego
  • Yukio Kawaratani, former staff planner, Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles
  • Dan Garcia, former chair, Los Angeles City Planning Commission
  • Marjorie Macris, FAICP, Planning Consultant, Mill Valley; former Director of Planning, City of Berkeley
  • Vaughan Davies, Perkins Eastman Architects
11:15 Short Break
11:30 From the Outside In
Who worked for change from outside the planning establishment, to bring marginalized or disenfranchised communities to find their own power and resources? How did they transform the planning process, and their communities?

Moderator: Dr. Alvaro Huerta, Assistant Professor, Urban & Regional Planning and Ethnic & Women’s Studies, California Polytechnic University PomonaPanelists:

  • Frank Villalobos, Co-Founder and Principal, Barrio Planners, Inc.
  • Tim Watkins, Chief Executive Officer, Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC)
  • Bill Watanabe, former Executive Director, Little Tokyo Service Center
  • Additional Panelist TBA
12:30 Lunch
1:00 Inside the Looking Glass: Our Own Stories
We will bring together other long-time leaders from inside and outside the planning profession, along with event attendees, for an open, facilitated discussion to share personal histories, experiences and perspectives. Tell us your own unique story, adding your voice to the history of Los Angeles planning!                                                                                                                                                           Facilitators: Steven A. Preston, FAICP and Miguel Vasquez, AICP
2:45 Past, Present and Future: Concluding Comments

Introduced by:

  • Ken Bernstein, AICP, Principal City Planner, Citywide Policy Planning and Historic Resources, Los Angeles Department of City Planning;
  • Todd Gish, PhD, AIA, USC Price School of Public Policy and Acting Urban Designer, City of West Hollywood
3:00 Event Concludes

Come join us!

 Registration is $50 per person; for students with valid student IDs, $35. The fee includes the colloquium, continental breakfast, and lunch.

Please confirm your attendance to Alice Lepis, Secretary ( or at 818.769.4179 on or before Friday, October 20, 2017.

Payment Options

  1. Register with Credit Card via PayPal
  • Registration: $50 Buy Now
  • Student Registration (with Student ID): $35 Buy Now

2. Check payable to: “Los Angeles Region Planning History Group” with completed Colloquium Brochure and Registration Form sent to:

Los Angeles Region Planning History Group
c/o Alice Lepis, Secretary
11227 Acama Street
North Hollywood, CA 91602

 Please include a copy of your student ID if you are registering as a student.

The Los Angeles Region Planning History Group, affiliated with The Huntington Library in San Marino, actively utilizes planning history in the Los Angeles region, including its individual cities, to guide those who are creating its future. The Group promotes the understanding and study of the LA region’s history through programs and conferences, the collection and preservation of major plans, oral and written histories and related documents in planning and related disciplines. Learn more about us, discover our activities, and donate to our programs, at

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