With urban pollution and traffic violence disproportionately affecting communities of color, better management of public space and streets could improve equity in cities.
Sahar Shirazi assesses the changes to streets and public space brought on by the pandemic, noting that "fallout often hits hardest on those historically marginalized and those most vulnerable." As we make dramatic changes in how we use public space, Shirazi argues that "[i]t is essential, now more than ever, that any urban equation factor in the reality that our urban environments have historically been unequal places."
The choices made by policymakers now "can either exacerbate those inequities, or mitigate them." Shirazi points to the intensifying battle over curb space as one area where "cities can use their existing authority over curbs to shift driver behavior, more effectively allocate curb space to match the needs of the community, and improve safety, environmental sustainability, and revenue generation," partnering policy with technology to "intelligently and democratically mitigate the negative impacts of these changes and improve life for all city-dwellers, especially those already facing financial hardship or discrimination."
Shirazi recommends that cities charge companies like Amazon and UPS for parking and curbside access. "Additionally, more efficient parking enforcement can improve traffic flow and reduce transit time, which will also be a boon to lower-income communities which rely more heavily on public transit and frequently have higher greenhouse gas emissions in their neighborhoods and worse air quality than other city dwellers."
Shirazi also emphasizes the importance of achieving two important goals: zero traffic fatalities and zero carbon emissions, both of which disproportionately harm communities of color. "By addressing road safety, parking, emissions, and how we allocate and charge for curb usage, cities can make strides to address inequities present today."
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
Investors Snapping Up Record-High Number of Affordable Homes
High interest rates and record-high prices are driving investors to focus on homes in the lower price tier, exacerbating inventory shortages and pushing regular home buyers out of the market.
Federal Office Conversion Program Slow to Start
To date, no loans have closed through a federal program meant to spur office-to-residential conversions.
How Capturing Rainwater Can Make Cities Safer, More Resilient
Green infrastructure can help prevent flooding and replenish groundwater supplies, preventing subsidence that makes land sink.
Boston’s Blue Hill Avenue to Get BRT, Safety Improvements
The key bus corridor serves over 37,000 bus riders daily.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.