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Recording Available from the 5/25 Reimagine Public Safety & Invest in Community Planning Webinar

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

On May 25, 2021, the APA-IL DEI Committee hosted a webinar to explore how the public resources could potentially be reallocated towards visionary and community-based planning, community development and public safety initiatives, among others. Panelists discussed how current efforts to engage in participatory budgeting and reimagine public safety can be used to build power in historically disadvantaged communities.

Thank you to speakers Paola Aguirre Serrano, People's Budget Chicago and Farah Muscadin, JD, Director, City of Austin’s Office of Police Oversight as well as Moderator Joe Hoereth, PhD., Director, Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement.

Links mentioned in the webinar include:

Want to know what people were chatting about during the webinar? Here's a few Q&As from chat!

  • Question for Austin - of the $31.5M reinvested into public safety, are those services all delivered by the City or is a lot of that funding now provided to other government agencies or non-profits? Its both, reinvestment in city departments and funding with community organizations.

  • Did nobody in either Austin or Chicago's process propose reducing the scope of laws police are tasked to enforce, such as ignoring victimless crimes? Yes, re Austin crimes specifically around low level possession of marijuana and public intox, more to come.

  • What should planners be looking for in their own departmental budgets that could be reallocated or realigned to promote public safety and equity? I would invest more in planners budget to help provide the support and data needed for reallocation from other departments that are less efficient and could be better realigned.

  • Was there a specialized team to understand and focus on Austin Budgets? It is mostly done through our budget office, but there are a lot of organizations that came together to really learn about the nuances of the budget that helped them push yard for change.

Speaker Biographies

Paola Aguirre Serrano is founder of BORDERLESS — Chicago-based city design and research practice focused on cultivating collaborative design agency through interdisciplinary projects. Paola explores creative civic design and engagement interventions that address the complexity of urban systems and social equity by looking at intersections between architecture, urban design, landscape, planning and civic participatory processes. She is an active educator, and has taught at the Sam Fox School of Design Washington University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Archeworks. She has been acknowledged by Next City Vanguard’s 40 Under 40 (2016), Impact Design Hub’s 40 Under 40 (2017), Newcity Design 50: Who Shapes Chicago (2018, 2020), Emerging Planner Award by the American Planning Association – Illinois Chapter (2018), Field Foundation Civic Leader for Racial Equity (2019), Chicago United for Equity Fellow (2019), and currently serves as Commissioner of Chicago Landmarks. Paola received a M. of Architecture in Urban Design from the Harvard School of Design.


Farah C. Muscadin, JD is the Director of the City of Austin Office of Police Oversight. Before becoming the Police Monitor, she served as the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Chicago State University (CSU). While at CSU, Farah also served as the Interim Dean of Student Affairs, the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Board Liaison to the Board of Trustees.

Additionally, Farah worked as the Associate Director of Legislative and Government Affairs for the City Colleges of Chicago, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and Assistant to the Mayor for Richard M. Daley, former Mayor of the City of Chicago. Farah was also an Assistant Public Defender for the Cook County Public Defender's Office and a Guardian ad Litem for the Cook County Public Guardian's Office.

Farah currently serves on the board for the Austin Iowa Alumni Club and the YWCA Greater Austin. She is a member of the Travis County Women's Lawyers Association and a mentor with GirlForward.

Farah holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Iowa and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law.

Farah has demonstrated her commitment to fairness and transparency in the Austin community by developing the City of Austin's Office of Police Oversight in 2018. DivInc recognized Farah's leadership with the 2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Leader of the Year award.

Outside of her professional career and community involvement, she is an avid tennis player who enjoys yoga and meditation.


Joseph K. Hoereth, PhD is director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. IPCE focuses on transforming democracy by creating a more fully engaged citizenry with more effective leaders. As a catalyst for learning and action, the institute creates opportunities for scholars, concerned citizens, students and government to participate in public discourse and educational programs on current policy issues and social trends. IPCE’s work includes research, dialogues and deliberations, and leadership development.

Dr. Hoereth has served as IPCE director since 2010 and was part of the team that founded the Institute in 2008. Under his leadership, IPCE staff completed extensive training on public deliberations to receive a Center for Public Life designation by the Kettering Foundation. As a Center for Public Life, IPCE has developed the capacity to design and facilitate community and campus dialogue and deliberations. A recent example of IPCE’s work in this space was designing and facilitating 14 community dialogues on behalf of the Office of Illinois Attorney General regarding input on the Chicago Police Reform Consent Decree. Dr. Hoereth is a member of the Independent Monitoring Team for the Chicago Police Consent Decree, leading a survey project of Chicagoan’s sentiment towards police and helping to manage the team’s community engagement.

Hoereth was recently named a Senior Fellow with the National Civic League. He holds a B.A. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, a Masters and a Ph.D. in urban planning from Rutgers University. Dr. Hoereth teaches courses as adjunct faculty in the departments of Urban Planning and Policy as well as Public Administration.


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