Chow, Kerzhner Earn ACSP Awards

September 10, 2021

Chun Ho ChowCongratulations to dual degree Master of City Planning and Transportation Engineering Master in Science student Chun Ho Chow, who won the 2021 Ed McClure Award for Best Masters Student Paper recognizing superior scholarship from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) and City and Regional Planning doctoral student Tamara Kerzhner who earned a Global Planning Educators Interest Group (GPEIG) travel award from (ACSP).

"The ACSP McClure Award Committee is delighted to present the 2021 Edward McClure Award to Chun Ho Chow. The winning entry, entitled 'Decolonizing Central Christchurch/Ōtautahi in the Post-earthquake Era,' is a timely investigation into the capacity of local planning agencies to collaborate with the Maori community of Christchurch/Ōtautahi to cocreate formal policies to improve disaster recovery and response," shares Selection Committee Chair Hilary Nixon, San Jose State University.

"The author provides a set of recommendations that are important for addressing physical, economic, and spatial patterns of colonization that continue to marginalize Indigenous and First Nation communities and hinder efforts to create diverse, equitable, and inclusive cities."

Chow’s winning paper was from a final paper city or regional plan analysis assignment from a UC Berkeley City and Regional Planning class taught by Associate Professor Karen Trapenberg Frick, where Chow chose Christchurch, New Zealand. See his interview at ACSP here.

“I knew I wanted to look outside the United States to better understand how planning is done in a different context,” says Chow. “I thought it would be interesting to see how the city rebuilt itself after its city centre was completely destroyed. I actually was not planning on writing about the Māori community in the rebuild process! The topic idea came naturally as I was reading through the plans, and I realized how much further ahead New Zealand is compared to the United States on indigenous relations, and I wanted to learn more about how things are done in New Zealand to hopefully bring the knowledge back to the United States.”

Chow, a native of Hong Kong, is in his second year as graduate student at UC Berkeley. His Transportation interests include understanding issues of inequality, public and active transportation, simulations, and modelling complex systems. With a background in physics, Chow aims to bridge physics, complex systems and computational training with urban theory. His research interest lies in understanding issues of inequality, the emergence of social complexity and the evolution of cities and regions.

Paper abstract: This report looks into Christchurch/Ōtautahi's post 2010--11 earthquakes recovery plans and process, as implemented by the multiple tiers of governments and agencies in the region. We focus spatially on the Central City, especially on the area surrounding Whiti-reia Cathedral Square, since this area functions as the heart of the city. Paying particular attention to the role and voices of the Māori community during the recovery, we find that the Māori community was well represented as an equal partner at the highest levels through the process, and that these plans have a high degree of incorporation of Māori elements. However, we find that the recovery plans still do not go far enough in re-imagining and rebuilding the Central City according to a Māori vision, given the Māori elements are mostly sprinkled onto an already decided urban fabric, and are focused on the natural, rather than the urban, environment. We thus recommend local actors to go further in decolonizing the urban city itself, proposing a Māori urbanism, and fully incorporating Māori identities and values into the entire urban space of Central Christchurch/Ōtautahi. In particular, to emphasize the dual Māori-settler status of Christchurch/Ōtautahi, the city should shift its centre from Whiti-reia Cathedral Square to Victoria/Market Square, and the former should also be decolonized in a more visible manner. Additionally, we call on indigenous planning scholars to devise a framework to assess the degree to which urban planning processes and outcomes incorporate and stem from indigenous lifeworlds. 

Tamara KerzhnerKerzhner, who hails from Israel, earned a Gill-Chin Lim Travel Award and a complimentary registration to the Annual ACSP Conference from the Global Planning Educators Interest Group (GPEIG), which works under the umbrella of the ACSP to bring together planning educators and students from North America to share, shape, and incorporate global perspectives in planning education and research, and to connect with colleagues and partners in other regions of the world.

Her research interests include informal transportation, paratransit; the role of informal and informalized labour in producing urban services and urban space; and mobility and equity in divided and diverse cities.