Chris Ackerman

Chris Ackerman BAUSP Candidate (4+1 program)

Hometown: San Diego, California

Where did you go for undergrad and what did you major in?

I am currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Urban Studies and Planning with a concentration in Social Justice and Policy and Planning as well as a Minor in Latina/o Studies.

Why did you choose to attend DURP at UIUC?

DURP at UIUC is a small department in a large research university in a mid-sized city. This unique combination would allow me to get to know faculty and classmates more personally and get familiar with the wider Champaign community. I had heard of Planner's Network and their work in the Bristol Place development struggle and I was excited about the opportunities to get meaningfully involved in the community beyond the campus. Today, I have the privilege to work with the 5th & Hill neighborhood group to combat environmental racism, which is indeed the most meaningful activity I have engaged in throughout my college career. This is thanks to the student organizations available in the department. The faculty, my classmates, our student organizations, and the work I do in the community outside the campus are evidence that I made the right choice in attending DURP at UIUC.

What are your career ambitions?

Upon graduation, I plan on returning to California to address historic wrongdoings done by our predecessors in the planning practice such as redlining, Federal Housing Administration mortgage and loan discrimination, and segregation, particularly through increasing homeownership, economic development, community development, and political representation. I plan to do so by becoming an advocate, a nonprofit member, or a state legislator to directly influence issues of race, class, gender, and immigration. Planners don't usually enjoy working with elected officials, so planners must become the elected officials to carry out the ideas for development we have studied for so long.

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