Skip to main content

City Planning Department Celebrates Women's Equality Day!

*CUE* Beyoncé’s ‘Run the World – Girls’

Imagine walking into your office on a Monday. You look to your left, you look to your right, and all of your colleagues are men. 

No, this isn’t an episode of The Twilight Zone, however for many women working in the field of urban and regional planning this is an everyday reality.

So, how can we imagine an innovative and immersive city if diverse voices aren’t heard – or asked to even take a seat at the table? That’s where the City of Los Angeles steps in.

Here in LA, the City Planning Department has made concerted efforts to hire and train employees to create a more accessible and equitable city. From the Deputy Director of Planning to our Graphics team and everyone in between, women have played a vital role in shaping our City.

Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself, well, how many women are actually working at City Planning.  
Check the stats:
  • 58% of our Employees are women.
  • 57% of Planners are women.
  • 58% of Supervisorial Roles are held by women.
These numbers are awesome, and I’m sure you're wondering: how did they even get interested in this career and where do we go/grow from here?  Especially since it’s a field that prevented women from even being licensed architects until 1972 (in some cases). 

Lisa Webber, Deputy Director of Planning started her planning career more than 20 years ago, and
to this day she is at times the only woman in the room. Upon starting with the City of Los Angeles six years ago, there was only one female manager in the Project Planning Bureau. Since then, Deputy Director Webber has had the opportunity to create new managerial positions, helping facilitate opportunities for women to advance into leadership roles. This dedication to inclusion has resulted in the promotion and hiring of 12 women into managerial positions in the Project Planning division. 

This is great for those who are currently working in the planning profession. It shows that times are changing and perspectives are shifting to be more inclusive of diverse perspectives. But how do we get more women interested in the profession? Sometimes, it starts with mentorship. 

This past summer, the Department had an opportunity to work with interns from across the country including Violeta Alvarez, a senior at Mount Holyoke College. With 52% of Urban Studies graduate students in 2016 being women, now is the perfect time for Violeta and others to explore this career.

During her time with City Planning, Violeta was mentored by planners who were able to share with her career insights and provide a pipeline to other contacts who she could speak to about her goals.  Working alongside pioneers in the field of planning has helped her understand the history of disparities in cities and the importance of working towards equity. 

And it doesn’t stop here!

By having these unique and varied voices as part of the conversation, we improve the way we interact with our built environment. To create a better future, we have to have women of all backgrounds at the table.

Women are hungry to serve and provide their perspective on public service. We’re no longer asking for a seat at the table, we’re showing up and bringing along other competent women with us.
Visit our Facebook page to see more from some of the women in City Planning. We’re all working to making #Planning4LA the best it can be.

2. % includes  (this includes PAs, CPAs, CPs, SCPs, Principals, Directors, AZAs, 1 Architect, 1 Architectural Associate, and 1 Environmental Specialist


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Young, Black and Planning

Based on recent data, African-Americans only represent 7.9% of those in the planning profession. In 2017, published an article titled, “Urban Planning Can’t Happen Without Black People in the Room—Yet It Does,” reflecting on the importance of having multiple voices when planning and designing a city. 
In the City of Los Angeles, we see diversity throughout the City and in those who are helping plan the future of Los Angeles. In 2018, 16% of new hires and 12% of all promotions within the Department of City Planning were of African-Americans, representing 12% of the entire Department.  Below, the Department of City Planning’s African-American City Planning Assistants and Associates share their advice for those interested in entering the profession. Scroll below to get their insights, and get inspired to plan!
Kyle Winston "I grew up in South Central LA. I watched my neighborhood burn during the LA riots and then sit untouched for years wondering why no one came back to reb…

City Planning Partners with Council Districts at Metro DSC!

On Wednesday May 14, City Planning staff at the Metro Development Services Center, or DSC, opened its doors to Council District Planning Directors and Deputies.

The behind-the-scenes tour allowed Planners and Council staff to create better partnerships and strengthen communication! City Planning works more effectively and efficiently if community members know the ins and outs of project planning and processing. And no one knows each district of Los Angeles better than their Council District Planning Directors and Deputies.
Their input is vital to us staying informed and well versed in working on our shared vision.

As they work on the front lines each day with Angelenos, District Planning Directors feel the pulse of Los Angeles. At the same time, planners at our Metro DSC are getting that same first hand feedback from customers.

Naturally, the Department felt it critical to allow Council staff to witness a day in the life of a planner at the counter.

Some of our services, like housing, hi…

Building a City with the City Planning Department

Let’s build a city, and we’re not talking about the SIMCITY game here people!

Welcome to You-ville! A new city that’s going to be completely created and maintained by YOU. Although this is “You-ville,” it’s hard to imagine a city with a population of just one, so you’ll have to plan for at least a modest population. Ready to start? Let’s get to it!

First, some things to consider….
Where do people live?
Where do people work and how far is that from where they live?
Where do people purchase the goods and services they need?
Do you have any schools, if so, how many and what types? 
What do your streets look like?
Can you play in a local park?
Can you park at the park?
Are people walking, driving, using public transportation or speeding overhead on autonomous flying drones?

What do you HAVE to have in your city to make it work?

 We know, that’s a lot to think about (and not even everything to think about), so let’s break this down how a city planner might think about this. The easiest way to keep you…