Karen Umemoto, an assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, was recognized with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning‘s (ACSP) Chester Rapkin Award for her paper, "Walking in Another‘s Shoes: Epistemological Challenges in Participatory Planning," which was published in the ACSP‘s peer-reviewed Journal of Planning Education and Research. All papers published are automatically considered for the best paper honor, which is awarded annually.
Umemoto‘s paper examines the challenges planners face when communicating across culture-based epistemologies and soliciting voices from diverse groups in participatory planning processes. These challenges include traversing interpretive worldviews embedded in culture, history and collective memory, and understanding the role of power in cultural translation.
"My article was an attempt to articulate the challenges facing planners when working in communities in which the cultural background of residents is different from their own," Umemoto said. "I also posed the idea of community-led planning as one way that planners can work with communities to facilitate planning processes that are culturally appropriate and which solicit the diverse voices."
The ACSP is a national consortium of university-based programs offering credentials in urban and regional planning that promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world. The ACSP believes that planning education should extend beyond the classroom and into the world of practice working closely with practicing professionals, and is committed to recognizing the diverse needs and interests in planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement as well as through participation in the accreditation process.