Listening More Than Telling

TransLoc MarketingThe Movement Podcast

In a special episode celebrating some of the guest teachers of the upcoming Unurbanist Assembly, Mouchka Heller and Jose Richard Aviles explain how equitable access to mobility comes from finally starting to bring unheard voices to the table.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT TO COME

 

Hear more from Josh Cohen in this blog and take this two question quiz (seriously—only two questions!) on how we can build this community to truly create the equitable, accessible, and verdant mobility future we all deserve?

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Cohen: Josh Cohen
Jensen: L’erin Jensen
Heller: Mouchka Heller
Aviles: Jose Richard Aviles

Cohen: This is a special episode, highlighting a couple of the guest teachers who will be leading sessions at the Unurbanist Assembly, a 23-hour teach-in happening this weekend. The Unurbanist Assembly will be holding space for everyone interested in disrupting and eradicating the harmful legacy of urban planning. The Movement podcast is a sponsor of the event, and today’s episode features Mouchka Heller and Jose Richard Aviles, a couple of the 30-plus practitioners and advocates who will be contributing to the event. Let’s go.

F: The freedom of movement to access jobs, education, and social activities is a fundamental human right, but that freedom is not distributed equitably, undermining our ability to create vibrant and sustainable communities for all. Welcome to The Movement where we talk with the leaders who are reshaping their communities with brave decisions, inspired advocacy, and a stubborn unwillingness to accept the status quo all in an effort to inspire the next generation of leaders. Here are your hosts Josh Cohen and L’erin Jensen.

Cohen: Jose Richard Aviles is a multimedia artist, urban planner, and social worker based out of Los Angeles. As a former organizer and a current artist, Aviles is interested in the intersections between space and justice, laughter and resistance, and the magic of the stage. All right. Welcome, Mouchka Heller to The Movement podcast.

Heller: Thank you so much for having me.

Jensen: So I guess let’s just get started. If you don’t mind introducing yourself and the work that you do at the World Economic Forum to our listeners, that’d be great.

Heller: Sure. So my name is Mouchka Heller. I lead the Inclusivity Quotient project at the World Economic Forum, which is a project that looks at transportation technology and policy and seeing how we can leverage that to create or unlock or foster socioeconomic growth that is equitable and that is on par with the pace of progress and innovation that we are seeing around the world.

Cohen: Wow. And how did you get started doing that kind of work?

Heller: [SIGHS] That’s a good question. In a roundabout way—[LAUGHS]—I actually started my career at The Economist, the newspaper, where I was their first data protection officer. And I worked at the intersection of data privacy, data governance, and then data commercialization, really trying to find a balance between protecting people’s rights to privacy and their expectations for privacy and at the same time the need for the industry to innovate using customer data.

And so that really got me started in this whole weird field, you know, that sits right in-between innovation or technological progress and then people’s rights, expectations, perceptions, feelings, emotions, readiness to adopt, you know, and all that good stuff.

So I worked for the government of Canada as trade commissioner of infrastructure in New York, and in that role I helped build out the Canadian smart cities efforts on the East Coast. And so the focus there was very much on ability and resiliency, so still very much being at the intersection between progress and people, for lack of a better explanation for it. And that is what took me to the forum where I joined the Shaping the Future of Mobility platform to look at how the business model of mobility and transportation is changing, how the pace of innovation in mobility and transportation is completely transforming the way we move people, goods, data, and access key destination day to day.

And I saw an opportunity to really focus on equity and to think really hard about what role transportation plays in people’s daily lives in helping them eat, go to school, have children, go to work—right—reintegrate society after they go to prison, for example, immigrate to different countries, and so on and so forth. And so I became very passionate about that, hence the IQ project and now the Unurbanist Assembly.

Cohen: Wow. Wow, wow, wow. L’erin and I talk about this sometimes, that when I started in transportation at TransLoc the iPhone wasn’t invented, Uber and Lyft were not around. Like, there has been this huge shift over the course of the last 12, 13 years or so in transportation obviously; but, you know, those three examples I just gave, I mean, are all dependent on that kind of intersection that you talked about with technology and data privacy. Right?

Heller: They also don’t serve everyone equally.

Cohen: Yeah.

Heller: So they have left some people who were already behind further behind while serving people who tend to be served first even more. And so you mentioned, for example, the iPhone. And I think that’s an excellent point about the digitization of our transportation systems, which is not accessible to the unbanked and the under-banked. That’s half of the world population. Even in the United States in many metropolis in the U.S. you have very large portions of the population, up to 40% that’s unbanked or under-banked and then very large portions of the population that’s also disconnected, not digitized, for a variety of reasons. It could be just access; it could be money or affordability, but it’s also a matter of trust. And that trust has not always been earned clearly—right—with these communities.

And I guess I should mention that part of it for me in all of this is very personal. So I grew up in a disadvantaged, underserved neighborhood in Paris, in France. And I had access, you know, thanks to basically, like, French initiatives and policy. I had access to public transportation for free, given the income level of my family. And it so happens that in Paris the public transportation system is really quite good in the public housing project that was placed at the center of the city. And because of that I was able to go to school; I was able to go to the library after school and access a desk and even have help, you know, when I got there ready to do homework. I then got internships and do all these things, and it was obviously life changing. And years later I was in graduate school in Washington, D.C., another very large city, but I was still pretty poor and living in the suburbs at that point, and then there was nothing. [LAUGHS]

Cohen: Yeah.

Heller: I found myself in a complete mobility desert, and at the time I could not afford a smartphone. You know, they were still, like, a very new thing; they were very expensive. Data plans were, I think, still are very expensive in the U.S. And so I did not have access to any of the things that were just beginning to emerge to serve my classmates. It took me almost three hours to get to school each way every day. And it took me the cost of three or four meals to get to school.

Jensen: Mmm.

Heller: And so having lived it, I think, is what gives me a slightly different perspective on the work.

Jensen: So, Mouchka, I have a theory in my mind, so I want to get your opinion on this. Why do you think that the public transit was so robust and is so much more robust in France and in all of, like, Western Europe or maybe Europe generally than it is here in the U.S.?

Heller: It’s a great question. And, you know, actually part of the IQ project is that we are doing something with the Boston Consulting Group and the University of St. Gallen in Chicago in the U.S., in Berlin in Germany, and in Beijing in China where we’re looking at how pain points in the mobility system are being addressed and then what’s the impact on social progress and economic development. And we found that Berlin actually has a robust public transit system within the city. We even had at first the hypothesis that there would be an east-west division in the city and that if you lived on the east side you would have less. None of it proved to be correct, you know, through the research. But Berlin remains one of the poorest urban centers in Germany.

And then we looked at Chicago, and there we saw that the biggest issue was that people did not have access to jobs because of transportation systems. And so that lack of physical access to the jobs is having huge repercussions on economic development. And so it really made me think, “How is Berlin supposedly, you know, with such a robust public transit system, one of the poorest urban areas in Germany and then you have, you know, a U.S. city,” which I think is typical—I don’t think it’s a Chicago thing—“that has, you know, like, maybe a less robust public transit system where if only you could get people to the jobs you would have these huge economic repercussions?” And I think there is a cultural and historical aspect, you know, to this.

If you think about it also politically, you know, Europe, like, leans further Left than the U.S. does. And that’s just saying that what would be considered to be very liberal or really pretty leftist in the U.S. is actually centrist or even maybe conservative in parts of Europe and that there is also just a different commitment to infrastructure. The other thing—and that’s a historical kind of legacy point—for different reasons Europe went through many wars on its territory, and European cities were hit really hard by those wars, if you only think about the Blitz—right—in London, for example. And those wars destroyed the infrastructure, which had to then be rebuilt over and over and over again. And so although now that infrastructure is aging, it’s still much younger than the one that we have in the U.S.

Cohen: Hmm.

Jensen: That’s a good point and certainly something to think about.

Cohen: Yeah. That won’t, of course, explain the lack of infrastructure in much of the more recently developed parts of the U.S. like the Southern U.S. and Southwest U.S., which has seen a huge growth in Texas and Florida and Arizona and where we are in North Carolina and Georgia, you know. That same level of historic investment a long, long time ago has not happened, even if it did happen in Chicago and Boston and New York. But I think it’s a little bit more towards those cultural and social priorities maybe, cultural priorities on what’s important to invest in. Right?

Heller: There is something else that we forget about the U.S., is the sheer size of it. You know, France, the whole country is the size of Texas, so we are going to have huge disparities on a national level in the U.S. And then if you compute, you know, within that, state rights and then the level of autonomy that big mayors, you know, might have for their cities and everything else, then you have just a lot of political reasons why things might look different. But, I think—and that brings me a little bit to the Unurbanist Assembly and to part of the IQ project—I think that our public infrastructure is a reflection of the legacies of our history. And if we are going to be talking about the topic of the Unurbanist Assembly, which is really how urban planning created—right—or enforced segregation and really kept some populations behind—right—those have ugly historical and social reasons.

And so I think that now we are beginning to see a transformation. We are beginning to see reform. We are beginning to wake up to that reality, and that’s what excites me about being part of the Unurbanist Assembly this year, is that I really, really, really hope that some of the conversations we can have now can start generating some policy changes, because I think that that’s where we need to go now. We’ve been talking about antiracism, and we’ve been talking about what needs to happen for the last year-plus, especially, you know, loudly in the United States, and so now I think it’s time to start thinking very concretely about what are the things that we can change. And, to me, transportation is at the top of that list.

Jensen: I would say that definitely confirms my theory. [LAUGHS] But I want to talk more about Unurbanist Assembly and the role you’re playing there and why you’re participation is so important.

Heller: Well, I can’t tell you why I’m so important. [LAUGHTER] But I can tell you why we are participating. The World Economic Forum is an international organization for public-private partnership. And the best way, really, to understand what we do is to think of us as a kind of conductor, you know, in an orchestra. We don’t see ourselves as being violinists, pianists, or anything like that, but we see ourselves as being good at bringing people together and really challenging everyone’s worldview with each other’s to then put together a kind of common voice that is for the improvement of the world and then driving that forward.

Today we are finally starting to bring to the table unheard voices and people who we just have kept out of the conversation. And when I say “we” I mean the whole world for just way too long. And so us participating in the Unurbanist Assembly is us starting to rectify that or trying to rectify that, at least making a first step, you know, towards rectifying that. We are going to spend our time at the Unurbanist Assembly really listening more than telling people, because what we want to empower people to do is to build coalitions for that change. And we want to help figure out how we bring those unheard voices to the table finally. So that’s what we are attempting to do; we are attempting to put that machine of the World Economic Forum and, like, more-established institutions behind underserved communities, informal network, unheard voices.

Cohen: I love it. I love it. You’ve mentioned a couple times the IQ, the Inclusivity Quotient. Will you just briefly introduce that real quick before we wrap up because I think that projects, I think, is important.

Heller: Oh, yeah. The Inclusivity Quotient project was born in Davos in January 2020, so right before we were hit with COVID-19. And it was formally launched in July 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. And really the project looks at what drives inequities in social progress and in economic development around the world and looks at transportation as one of the levers for a more equitable, more resilient future. So what we are trying to do is that we are trying to codify and standardize what inclusive means. We are trying to really, like, cut down what an inclusive transportation system is in terms of different five factors of accessibility and then assign sub-data sets to measure and track change in progress alongside these five factors of accessibility. And then we are trying to identify and empower or launch or unlock key enablers for change, which would be tech, policy, and then modalities, new modes of transportation. So that’s really, like, kind of the umbrella of the IQ project.

Cohen: Wow. So it sounds like taking something that, I think, too often may get confused or not fully comprehended because it can mean different things to different people and really trying to put kind of some very clear definitions and almost metrics around it to really help then say, “We are making progress from X to Y.” Is that fair?

Heller: Exactly. I think, inclusivity not only is often misunderstood; everyone thinks they understand it. And so whenever each individual, when they hear that word there is something very specific that gets triggered in their brain, and they are very convinced that that’s what it is. It’s also seen as a soft measure, and it’s also seen as a charitable or philanthropic measure. With IQ we are trying to make it quantifiable, trackable, demonstrable, and create global alignment what the definition would be. And then—and I think that’s just as important if not more important—we are also looking to demonstrate the impact that it has on economic growth. And that’s why we keep going back to the economy for IQ. So basically showing how inclusivity, it’s not about being morally right, it’s not about being woke or with the times or, you know, or following what we are supposed to do, “supposed” quote-unquote. Right? But it’s just smart, and it helps solve some of our biggest socioeconomic issues that we have as a planet.

Cohen: Wow. Well, Mouchka, thank you so much for dropping by The Movement podcast and introducing yourself and some of the work you’re doing there with the World Economic Forum as well as giving us a little bit of a tease of some of the other work you’re doing and some of the work you’re going to be doing at the Unurbanist Assembly later this week. So thank you so much for dropping by.

Heller: Thanks so much for having me.

Cohen: Jose Richard Aviles is a multimedia artist, urban planner, and social worker based out of Los Angeles. As a former organizer and a current artist, Aviles is interested in the intersections between space and justice, laughter and resistance, and the magic of the stage.

Jensen: Welcome, Jose Richard. We’re so excited to have you.

Aviles: Thank you for having me. I’m very excited to also be in conversation with y’all.

Jensen: Would you mind introducing yourself and the work that you do as an artist, planner, and social worker, to our listeners?

Aviles: Of course. Hi, everyone. My name is Jose Richard Aviles, and, you know—yeah—I do all of those things. I say that I wear multiple hats, but they are all threaded with the same needle of justice.

Cohen: I like that.

Aviles: [LAUGHS]

Cohen: I hate to interrupt you, but that was good.

Aviles: Oh, thank you. See, this is where the poet in me comes out.

Cohen: I love it.

Aviles: Somehow there’s all these little things that I say. But, no, yes, I’m an urban planner, a social worker, an artist. And for me I think I’m really interested right now, in the work that I do in how—particularly it comes from when I was being a clinician and realizing that I had a lot of clients that were presenting very similar symptomology and they were coming from the same area code. And I was like, “Well, hmm, this is a pattern. And there’s something about the built environment that is resulting in these similar symptomologies.” So then urban planning sort of became, like, an intro and a way into community trauma and what does community trauma look like and can we as planners be more trauma informed.

And then the artist in me, I realized working in the bureaucracy, my ideas are not seen as feasible a lot of times in bureaucracy. So when I can’t necessarily speak against the system within the system, I do it within my art because no one can own my art; it’s my truth. And so I have an opportunity to work within the system, without the system, and against the system.

Cohen: Wow. Well, I think the combination here, I think, is the real magic. Right? It’s not just the planning; it’s not just the social work, but then you add on top the art. I think that, to me, is, like, the magic there. Dig into that a little bit more, if you don’t mind. I feel like there’s more there that we’re probably just scratching sort of. We don’t have a ton of time today, but I think that was a really good—

Aviles: I’ll share it briefly. So one of the things that I had to reconcile with during quarantine was, you know, my first intro into organizing and urban planning was with the Bus Riders Union here in Los Angeles at the age of 16. And, you know, at 16 I was talking about the consent degree of 1996 and transit racism. Little did I know that that was urban planning. You know what I mean?

Cohen: Yeah.

Aviles: So 10 years later when I got my master’s it was like—or maybe a little later. I’m trying to make myself younger. [LAUGHTER] You know, it was in that moment that it was a full-circle moment, but I take a lot of pride in being a bus rider, and then there was a moment during the pandemic that I realized, “But I’m working from home, and that’s a privilege. Yet public transit never shut down in Los Angeles. And why is that?” And we found that it was essential workers that were ones riding public transit.

And for me as a transportation planner it was like, “No, my job is not investing in infrastructure. My job is to remove stressors.” And it just happens that I get to do that through the build environment. So of course I necessarily don’t have access to Metro where I could be like, “Well, you know, what are y’all doing?” and so I decided to do an art piece around it. It was called El Camino de Vermont where I walked 13 miles across Los Angeles and filmed it to bring visibility to the fact that there were still pedestrians and folks riding public transit in the middle of a global pandemic, and it was our job as planners to ask why.

And so I couldn’t necessarily have a seat at the table as a planner, but I could as an artist because I made the table and I brought the chair and I decided to also share that narrative. And so similar to that there’s a piece that I’m dreaming in mind called Femzilla. I’m a firm believer that urban planning is a manifestation of settler colonialism and the way that we look at the built environment is rooted in neocolonialism. And so I was like, “Hmm. I don’t know if I could, like, say that at my job and be like, ‘Y’all are all colonizers.’” You know what I mean? Like—

Jensen: [LAUGHS]

Aviles: “So how can I say that through my art?” And so there is this idea of this piece called Femzilla where I’m the fem, and I would create a 3D model of the Downtown LA skyline and destroy every building from the newest built to the oldest built as a ritual of decolonizing the land.

Cohen: That sounds like a project.

Aviles: Yeah, I know. [LAUGHS]

Jensen: How do we see this?

Cohen: Do we need to crowdfund this? How is this going to happen?

Aviles: I mean, I’ve thought about, and I was like, “Oh, my God. That means I have to, like, do all these renderings, and then I have to figure out where to put it.” It’s still an idea. And that’s the cool thing about being an artists, that the idea, this is never leaning. Right? So if it’s not an article, if it’s not a project at work, then it’s an art piece, and then I just have to find the fun being and, you know, all the things that go into creating art. But that idea is something that I am actualizing. I think it’s a great piece.

Cohen: Wow. I don’t know; it must be my age. I don’t—I think I’m getting to the stage in my life where I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself an artist, but I think we all have kind of artistic tendencies whether or not we’ve kind of developed them in certain ways and so forth. And as I go along I just keep coming back to what I feel like is just so important is art. The expression of art in kind of everyday life is kind of like where I kind of just find myself, like, craving more of. Right? And I think I’m lucky to live in an area with a lot of trees, which I think, you know, nature obviously is kind of maybe the first art, if you will, but I think a lot about art in our public spaces. So, anyway, I don’t know if I have a real end to that, I just—that’s what that’s making me think of as you’re sharing that, because I feel like this is an area that we don’t plum nearly enough.

Jensen: I wonder if that is because as Jose, you mentioned, that this idea of, like, everything that we do, urban planning, it’s all part of this bureaucracy. And what you would like to do is deconstruct it all. And in many ways art is, like, the antithesis to bureaucracy. And so, like, we’re really in this transformational age where we’re rethinking everything about our lives and our societies and the way that we think about things, the way that we do things. And so it’s, like, the natural progression is to, like, seek art since it’s the opposite.

Aviles: I like that you framed it as the antithesis of bureaucracy, because I do agree with you. Right? One of the most beautiful things about art is that, one, it’s the first stage when you abstract concepts. We get to deconstruct to then reconstruct. And that process of reconstruction, I think, it’s very important because the bureaucracy will always tell you it’s not protocol. And when you ask where the hell is the protocol, they don’t know where it is because it doesn’t exist. And when you realize that abstraction, it was like, “Okay, as I’m deconstructing within bureaucracy, let me also reconstruct through my art,” because how are we creating a world that we don’t know what it looks like yet. You know what I mean?

So I think being able to be within both buckets—Adrienne Maree Brown talks about this in Emergent Strategy. Right? Being able to visualize is just as important as it is to deconstruct. And, you know, I think, for the longest I’ve tried to always be this visualizer even within the bureaucracy, and that gets shut down really quickly. [LAUGHS] And so I wanted to ensure that I could still do that for myself and figure it out, but that it was with my art. And what I do as a micro-influencer—I didn’t even know that was a thing, but I’m considered a micro-influencer. And I was like, “Oh, this is exciting.” And so people laugh when I do what I do as an artist, and then they’re like, “Wait, you’re a planner?” And I’m like, “Yeah.” [LAUGHS]

Cohen: Hmm. You know, another way to think about that too, just to add onto that, I guess, is that, you know, when you look at planning or you look at the built environment there are rules, whether those are legal rules or sometimes physics, you know, whatever. In art none of that applies. In art, like, literally you can make anything. And, I think, in that way it goes to L’erin’s point about kind of being the antithesis of kind of planning, if you will. Man, I feel like this is something I’m going to have to, like, sit with for a little bit to like—

Aviles: [LAUGHS] Yeah.

Jensen: I think, Jose Richard, you talk about this too. You wrote an opinion piece recently in Planning.org or on Planning.org. And you alluded to this earlier, countertransference. And you say, if I may quote you, “A therapist can bring harmful biases into a relationship with a client. Similarly, planners’ biases and training as technocrats can impact the planner-community relationship.” So it’s breaking down those walls to find the real solution that really stems from the patient and rather than, like, what the experts, the bureaucrats, and the technocrats think.

Aviles: Yeah. No, and to me, I think that countertransference, it’s something that we talk a lot about in social work because we always come in with biases. And the number one thing, “It’s not about me.” Like, my job is to process my own biases to be of service to my client. Right? Like, my job is to be a witness and a facilitator to someone’s healing. And so how do you translate that to urban planning, I think, is super important. I mean, and we see that all the time where we have community engagement strategies only at predesign and design phases of a project, which just lets us know that all you want is buy-in. You’re not literally engaging. You know?

What does engagement look like? And say this in the opinion piece. What does engagement look like during construction, which is the longest phase of a project and the phase when folks are feeling the most impact? And, you know, I had a situation where I was doing flyering for a construction project that had already happened, and I was like, “Oop.” And who is responsibility was it, at the end of the day, to inform community that this was happening? You know what I mean? And folks will say, “Well, maybe it was the contractor’s or the engineers’ or a public works.” And it’s like, “But if I have that information, why is it also not my responsibility. It took me five seconds.” You know what I mean?

And so I guess for me one of the hardest things is just realizing—and I go back to this notion that it’s rooted in colonialism, where we’re so hyped and excited to see how the built environment is deficit, how it should be changed, but we forget that people are living in these places. And I think that the digital world—I’m not a big fan of smart cities for that reason. Because until someone can tell me how you’re planning to onboard South Central, which is a part of the city with the least amount of wireless, access to wireless internet—we found that out through a viral image of the young girls that were outside of a Taco Bell trying to get wireless internet to go to school. So until folks tell me what your onboarding strategy is for that and what your atonement is for that, I don’t believe in smart cities.

Jensen: I’m glad you brought that up, because this is a nice segue for us to discuss the Unurbanist Assembly, so we’re right back where we wanted to be. This is fantastic. So can you tell us about the role you’re playing at the Unurbanist Assembly and why this is so meaningful?

Aviles: Yeah, meaningful for many different ways. I would be remised if I didn’t honor Dr. Destiny Thomas as a former supervisor and a mentor and someone who believed and believes in my work to say, “Okay, do this.” You know what I mean? And so, one, it’s an honor to that. And I think any time that mentors, femtors, ask you to show up, you show up.

Cohen: Mm-hmm.

Aviles: And to me that’s very important and to give credit where credit is due. So during this Unurbanist Assembly I will be attending as much of it as I can, but I will be teaching a session on healing the built environment, which dives a little deeper into the opinion piece that you quoted earlier, L’erin. So we’ll be talking about that and what does that look like, what does strength-based perspective look like, how does it work out. And hopefully toward the end of the session I’m hoping that we can co-create with audience members what do those strategies look like, because I definitely don’t have the answer. I think sometimes academia creates these things of, like, “This is the person with the answers.” And it’s like, “No, I don’t have the answers. I have a answer. Can we collectively, you know, co-create together?” And so I’m excited for that.

Cohen: Hmm. You know, it does make me think that kind of assumption that I think we make at a macro level is that, you know, very similar to what you just said, that there is one answer or that there is kind of one person that knows the answer. And if you kind of turn that upside down and really say, “Alright. How would this be if we all had an answer and we all had an opinion?” because we all do and even if not everyone has equitable access to share that opinion or to be asked for their opinion.

Aviles: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Cohen: So I think that’s an important angle.

Jensen: I guess I would just add onto that in terms of, you know, Jose Richard, how you said that you maybe don’t have all of the answers but you do have an answer, I would add that we don’t always need to have an answer either. And I think that as humans a lot of times we feel like we have to know everything, and not even necessarily as individuals, but there has to be an answer out there for all of our questions. And that’s not always the case. But working towards something can be good enough. We’re trying and trying meaningfully because, you know, impact versus intent. But, yeah, we don’t always know, and it’s okay to admit that.

Aviles: Yeah, like, I think about what would happen if we were really to embrace entropy and organized chaos in planning. Right? So much of planning is rooted in containment; it’s rooted in structure; it’s rooted in rigidity; but what would happen if we were able to allow for entropy and organized chaos to reign? Right? Like, what would happen if we designed projects only to an 80% of completion so that then community through living-in would finish that 20%?

Cohen: Hmm.

Aviles: Because it’s not about us. Right? That’s, you know, what I call 80-20 design.

Cohen: Wow. This is exciting. I’m so grateful that you were able to stop by today to give us a little bit of a preview on what’s to come up this weekend at the Unurbanist Assembly. And so if you have not registered yet, please do check that out at UnurbanistAssembly.com and get registered, because it is going to be a great event, 23-hour teach-in, and Jose Richard will be there, Mouchka Heller will be there, others will be there, Mitchell Silver who has been on the podcast in the past will be there.

Aviles: Can I just add that I think—hopefully to encourage folks to also come and register—some of the most amazing experiences and conversations also happen in the chat? [LAUGHS] I think, at least from last year we got so hyped when we were all in the chat and just talking to one another. And this year they’re onboarding through a different platform, which is also just as exciting, with an opportunity to direct message folks and at people, so the Twitter conversation can continue to go. And so I encourage people to come through and, you know, some of the conversations that are happening at 4:00 in the morning are definitely just as important. And as the teaching goes on later in the night I think we start getting very much uncensored, and it’s great.

Cohen: Mm-hmm.

Aviles: [LAUGHS] It’s great. And, again, I think it’s a beautiful space because we all have a commitment to bettering the field and to really deconstructing, as L’erin mentioned earlier—right—what this bureaucracy-based profession looks like. And I’ll end it with this; I think that there is a city that is localized at civic centers and closed behind chamber doors, and then there’s a city that is localized at the intersection, at the cookouts, at the carne asada, at the tamales, and I’m always committed to the latter, never the former. So I think even asking the question as planners, “Who are you committed to?” is important.

Cohen: Hmm. Mmm-mmm-mmm.

Jensen: Sounds like a title of an episode.

Cohen: It does; doesn’t it? Doesn’t it? [LAUGHTER] All right. Well, thank you; such a treat. And can’t wait to be a part of your session this weekend.

Aviles: Oh, thank you so much. Thank you. I’m honored. Thank you.

F: Thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, head to Apple Podcasts and subscribe, rate, and review this podcast. You can find out more at TransLoc.com or follow Josh Cohen on Twitter at @CohenJP. Be sure to join us next week for another episode of The Movement.

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