SoS 2020 Miniconference Cancelled

Dear Spaces of Struggle Community, 

As you are aware, we planned to host the fourth iteration of our conference series on radical planning on November 4, 2020 in Toronto, directly preceding the conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). In light of recent events that are already putting pressure on time, resources, and energy, for both us and the community partners we hoped to engage with, we have decided to cancel the mini-conference.

As for Spaces of Struggle presence during ACSP, we were delighted by the response to the CFPs for our pre-organized session submissions. Our three sessions on Radical Planning (Practice in Shifting Narratives, Stories of Changing Practice, and Reimagining Planning Praxis) have been accepted. We will announce the details when they are made available. 

2020 has brought about a series of (un)expected trials that have asked us to interrogate the complicity of planning in producing socio-spatial inequality; to re-imagine what our role as planners must be; and to explicitly work towards building an anti-racist praxis. We were dismayed and frustrated by the inadequacy of ACSP’s statement following the murder of George Floyd to effectively call out planning’s complicity in the repeated historical, structural, and embodied violence enacted upon Black and Brown bodies. These critiques were clearly articulated by the Black Faculty response to the statement, particularly in their line-by- line commentary, which is central to understanding how and why the ACSP statement is not just underwhelming, but perpetuates the notion that positioning our profession as ‘progressive’ is enough. BIPOC faculty and students have unduly carried the burden of knowing, teaching, and sharing what we hold in our bodies and histories to be true. Hopefully for others, this year has exposed the individual and collective work that we have ahead of us.  

We are excited about ACSP’s day-long focal event, “Racial Equity and Justice in Urban Planning” that aims to center BIPOC/LGBTQI stories and scholarship. We believe that there is an opportunity, and a necessity, to make this year’s conference open, accessible, and affordable, enabling practitioners, students, and the public to join in the conversation to help us rethink the profession’s orientation towards race and equity. Academia should not be a silo; we call on ACSP to prioritize this need for collaboration and discussion above potential monetary concerns.  

In this spirit, we will be compiling and distributing a list of sessions that fit within the radical reimagining of our profession (If you would like your session considered, please email Finally, we will host a community forum directly following the conference to serve as a reflective, collaborative, and imaginative space (details forthcoming).

Two ways to participate in SoS 2020 Toronto

Spaces of Struggle (SoS) plans to host the fourth iteration of our conference series on radical planning on November 4, 2020 in Toronto, directly preceding the conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), the primary academic planning organization in North America. 

This year, our aim is a bit different as we look to foster connections and to “plug in” scholars, community organizers, and Toronto residents into a network where we can access case studies from other cities and connect with researchers. We welcome the challenge to redesign our conference around co-learning, co-creation, and co-production by extending our reach and focus beyond the academy and towards growing community-academic exchanges and partnerships. By first asking Toronto-based organisations about their particular needs and asking planning scholar applicants to identify what they hope to learn from and can contribute to frontline organisations directly, participants will have direct input in defining the programme themes and formats. 

Please stay tuned for the exact CFP in the coming weeks we look to ‘match’ Toronto organizations’ questions around land, labour and rights with scholars’ interests.

In the meantime, please note that the ACSP conference has a special focal event this year on Racial Equity and Justice in Planning. We encourage traditional paper presenters to submit to this track. Additionally, SoS is releasing two Calls for Presentations for preorganized sessions, due March 2:


About Spaces of Struggle

Spaces of Struggle (SoS) is a collective of graduate students and emerging scholars working together to radically rethink the theory and practice of urban planning. SoS was organized as a complement to and commentary on major planning conferences such as the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). We have organized mini-conferences in Portland (2016), Denver (2017), and New Orleans (2018).

SoS has invited dozens of scholars to share their research on key urban issues such as displacement and gentrification, urban decline and renewal, housing, land use, and development. Many also share examples of catalysts for change and different ways of building community found in social movements and insurgent activism, such as feminism, anti-racism, indigeneity, and the Global South.

These sessions are part of ongoing discussions on radical planning and support networks for change.


See Spaces of Struggle special issue of Critical Planning, vol.24 (2019).

Radical Planning meetup at AAG DC

Hello, fellow radical planners!

Sadly, there are no official Spaces of Struggle sessions planned for the American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting this year in Washington DC. However, many of our past organizers and participants will be attending.

If you’d like to share details of your paper or panel sessions, please feel free to add them in the comments of this post.

If there is interest, we can also try to plan a social get together one evening. Please email Sarah Gelbard sarah[at]gelbard[dot]ca —she will coordinate with those interested.

Schedule for Spaces of Struggle now available

Spaces of Struggle: a mini-conference on radical planning is just over a week away! We look forward to welcoming you at PlatteForum at the Temple in Denver.

The schedule and session descriptions are now available online. Downloadable programme and booklet now available.

Join the facebook event page to ask any last minute questions, to share thought throughout #radplan2017, and to keep in touch with other participants and share event notices throughout ACSP.