Urban Planning in HBO's Hit T.V Series "Insecure"
It has been a while since the season finale of Insecure aired and while we are sad to see the ladies go, we are excited to see them talk about Urban Planning.
Gentrification is the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. While season 3 was all about Issa finding herself, this season highlighted the silent gentrification of Issa’s beloved neighborhood. Throughout the season, Issa mentions her discomfort with the change of the neighborhood. She felt that the people of the neighborhood shouldn’t have to leave their homes to enjoy themselves. Issa was referring to the contemporary and ubiquitous problem of lack of resources in an inner-city neighborhood.
There was a moment in the show where Issa had to move out because she could not afford the rent. She was sleeping on peoples couches just to get by. Then as Issa is walking through her old neighborhood, she gets offered a voucher for a free coffee from a new café. The writers then show you that most of the business on the block is for sale. Issa is then told that the block is being turned into a promenade, which is why Issa’s rent went up.
Walkability and Neighborhood Touring
At one point in the season, Issa takes her love interest, Nathan for a tour around Issa’s neighborhood. Issa was determined to dispel the stereotype that L.A is not "walkable" enough to enjoy. While walking, Issa shows Nathan her favorite spots and reminisces about what the neighborhood used to have. This tour has sparked the idea that there is much to value right in our own neighborhoods. She decides to throw a party for the neighborhood.
While Issa starts planning, she was met with the roadblocks. She was unaware of the hurdles that she would have to overcome for her party to be successful. Issa was under the impression that getting a permit was going to be a piece of cake. She walked into the permit office and the city-employee informed her that one permit does not cover all permits and that an event just doesn’t happen that fast; permits are submitted months even years in advance.
“We Got Yall”
Issa's occupation throughout the three seasons is in the realm of urban planning. She works as a Positive Youth Development Coordinator with a non-profit called "We Got Y'all". Although the name of the non-profit profits off African-Americans vernacular English, they serve predominately Black and Latino kids in low-income areas of Los Angeles. The writers constantly remind us of the overall theme of management being predominately white and almost always miss the mark on understanding the kids that they serve.
In season 1, we see Issa being praised by her white colleagues for planning and coordinating a successful field trip for kids to experience the beach. Even though the entire western boundary of California borders the Pacific Ocean, Issa explains to her team; many of these kids have never experienced the beach. Again, this goes back to the theme about there being so many places, including landmarks, cultural centers, and natural resources that remain inaccessible for low-income minorities right in their own city. It was good to see Issa helping close that gap for the kids she serves.
Insecure shares light on almost every single topic that affects the Black community, hence why it is so authentic and relatable for many. It is interesting to see how the producers engaged in urban planning elements in the show through community development, positive youth development, and neighborhood tours. More importantly, the theme of Issa's compassion to help the people in her neighborhood and the problems she faces just alone makes it worthy to follow.