People Behind the Plans Podcast Series

Exploring the Work, Life, and Ideas of Planners Across the Field

Hosted by Courtney Kashima, AICP, planner and small business owner of Muse Community + Design in Chicago, the People Behind the Plans podcast series features conversations between planners on work, life, ideas, and problem-solving in a variety of communities.


Multiple Ways to Listen

Find us on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundCloud — or wherever you get your podcasts.


Recent Episodes

headshot of Nithya Raman for People Behind the Plans podcast sized at 200 x 200

Episode 39: Nithya Raman

Urban planner and L.A. City Council member Nithya Raman shares her vision for reducing homelessness, offers tips for working more effectively with city government, and explains how planners can use their expertise to educate and galvanize communities for positive change.

Naomi Doerner headshot icon image at 200 x 200

Episode 38: Naomi Doerner

As a growing number of cities develop mobility justice initiatives, Naomi Doerner, MUP, is helping planners navigate these efforts to address systemic inequities and barriers in transportation. Doerner, principal and director of equity, diversity, and inclusion at Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates and former program manager of Seattle’s innovative Transportation Equity Program, sat down with host Courtney Kashima, AICP, to talk about what mobility justice looks like in practice, including some inspirational examples from around the world. 

Michael Ford headshot at 200x200

Episode 37: Michael Ford, AIA, NOMA

In this special episode of the People Behind the Plans podcast, guest host Jason Pugh, AICP, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP, president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), sits down with Michael Ford, AIA, NOMA, keynote speaker at the 2022 APA National Planning Conference. In this live-recorded discussion in San Diego, Ford and Pugh talk about the unique connection between hip hop, urban design, community engagement, and so much more. 

Headshot of Rasmus Astrup

Episode 36: Rasmus Astrup

In this episode of the People Behind the Plans podcast series, host Courtney Kashima, AICP, is joined by Rasmus Astrup, partner and design principal at Danish urban design and landscape architecture practice SLA. Rasmus and Courtney discuss the importance of biodiversity and nature-based solutions to address the needs of cities to mitigate against the effects of climate change and specific issues like extreme urban heat.

Headshot of Leslie Kern, standing on a street corner, looking to the side. Photo by Mitchel Raphael.

Episode 35: Leslie Kern

Author Leslie Kern joins host Courtney Kashima, AICP, on this episode of People Behind the Plans to discuss her latest work, Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World. The two explore the myriad challenges women face living in and navigating spaces built largely for a narrow subset of the population.

Katanya Raby stands on a Chicago street with the El train in the background. Photo by Sandy Steinbrecher.

Episode 34: Katanya Raby

Urban planner, artist, and activist Katanya Raby joins host Courtney Kashima, AICP, to talk about her work at the Office of the Mayor for the City of Chicago, her time at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and her post as executive director of the Al Raby Foundation.

Headshot of Tamika Butler. Photo by Serena Grace Photography.

Episode 33: Tamika Butler

As a watershed year comes to a close, Tamika Butler, Esq., founder and principal of Tamika L. Butler Consulting, joins host Courtney Kashima on the podcast. The result is a stirring, uplifting, and funny conversation on the issues facing everyone who works to undo society’s inequities.

Headshot of Monique López, AICP.

Episode 32: Monique López, AICP

Host Courtney Kashima, AICP, chats with social justice planner Monique López, AICP, MCRP, MA, founder of the anti-racist, values-driven participatory planning and design firm Pueblo Planning. Monique shares stories from some of the firm's projects, merging anecdotes with the wisdom they brought her to create poignant takeaways for listeners.

A headshot of Samantha Choudhury

Episode 31: Samantha Choudhury

Melbourne-based planner Sam Choudhury joins host Courtney Kashima, AICP, to discuss how her parents' immigration to Australia from Bangladesh shaped how she plans for communities, how planning differs in the U.S. and Australia, and how business-improvement districts need focused management to succeed — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A headshot of Traci Sanders, director of civic impact at WXY Studio in New York. Photo courtesy WXY Studio.

Episode 30: Traci Sanders

Host Courtney Kashima, AICP, catches up with Traci Sanders about how she discovered urban planning, as well as influential projects she's worked on, such as the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan. Traci serves as the director of civic impact for WXY Studio, a multidisciplinary architecture, design, and planning firm based in New York.

Previous Episodes

Episode 29

Erin Aleman

Episode 28

Kelwin Harris

Episode 27

Todd Vanadilok, AICP

Episode 26

Enessa Janes, AICP, PhD

Episode 25

Julie Burros

Episode 24

Donald Shoup, FAICP

Episode 23

Dan Parolek

Episode 22

John Rahaim

Episode 21

Jana Lynott, AICP

Episode 20

Sadhu Johnston

Episode 19

Trevor Dick, AICP

Episode 18

Commissioner Josina Morita

Episode 17

Nina Idemudia, AICP

Episode 16

Mark de la Vergne

Episode 15

Taryn Sabia

Episode 14

Bob Becker, FAICP

Episode 13

Kate Hartley

Episode 12

Greg Lindsay

Episode 11

Mitchell Silver, FAICP

Episode 10

Kristin Saunders

Episode 9

Jarrett Walker

Episode 8

Doug Farr

Episode 7

Joanna Trotter

Episode 6

Eugenie Birch, FAICP

Episode 5

Lynn Ross, AICP

Episode 4

Bev Wilson, AICP

Episode 3

Scott Page

Episode 2

David Fields, AICP

Episode 1

Jamie Simone, AICP