Document Type

Professional Plan Capstone

Original Publication Date



Richmond BridgePark Foundation


Richmond, Virginia

Date of Submission

July 2020


Whether considering the construction of highways, urban renewal, or concentrated poverty, many low-wealth communities of color bear the scars of inequity. These scars are symbols of racial and socioeconomic trauma with deep physical, cultural and economic impact; however, this plan asserts that if the built environment has the power to entrench and reinforce hierarchies, it also has the power to participate in dismantling oppressive ideologies and advancing racial and socioeconomic equity. With Richmond, Virginia serving as the case example, this plan proposes a community engagement process and culturally responsive design principles to activate public space redevelopment projects as infra-sutures. Developed by dlandstudio in Montreal, QB, Canada, infra-sutures conceptualizes efforts to reconnect communities disrupted by transit infrastructure in Montreal. This plan builds upon this concept by broadening infra-sutures to include reconnecting communities culturally and economically for healing and restoration. The four phases of engagement to redevelop public spaces as infra-sutures include: pre-planning (co-learning and sharing power with residents); inclusive planning (residents as the anchor); planning for racial equity through design; and implementation and stewardship. Each phase is built on a foundation of core beliefs that race has shaped the built environment; equitable revitalization should lead to cultural and economic wealth building; the process matters just as much as the completed project; and the expertise of residents should shape communities. This plan combines research from literature and interviews with Richmond residents, historians, and community engagement experts to develop an engagement process aimed at advancing racial and socioeconomic equity.


© The Author

Is Part Of

Master of Urban and Regional Planning Capstone Projects