Inequality is a problem in the United States. While it is the product of many forces which are beyond our control, we, as transportation professionals and placemakers, must ensure that the decisions we make and the processes we employ, are not complicit in maintaining the status quo.
When the Walk/Bike/Places conference convenes in New Orleans this September 16–19, one question we are interested in answering is how inequality is addressed when it comes to transportation planning, and investment in the public realm. We are currently seeking experts to help us answer the following questions:
- How do we create places and transportation options that work best for the people who actually use them? Within communities, accessibility remains a tremendous obstacle for many. So how can we increase “quality of life” for everyone, not just a privileged few? How can cities and regions facilitate growth while also maintaining neighborhood integrity?
- The physical, social and cultural landscapes of many local places remains caught between danger, disinvestment and a lack of opportunity, on the one hand, and “neighborhood improvement” through gentrification, on the other. How can a balance be struck?
- What activities will resonate most with users, and what vision do communities have for their public spaces? The planning, design, programming and implementation of projects in the public realm should seek out what a community values most, and what concerns they have about their public places. How do we make room for diverse activities and spontaneous social interaction so that everyone feels welcome?
- How do we measure success? How do we actually know what is working? How can we continue sharing ideas and evolving practice while challenging ourselves to develop more effective ways to measure and document successes and failures?
- How do we ensure that a community engagement process is truly inclusive? Who manages the process and who participates? What training and tools are available for communities after the process is complete so that they can maintain, participate, and continue to feel connected to the places they use?
Is your agency or organization an expert in addressing inequality in the public realm? If so, please join us and share your experience by applying to present at Walk/Bike/Places 2018. Begin your application here and when promoted select ‘Breakout Session Panelist’ and ‘Inequality’ as your topic. Please submit your proposal by 8 pm Eastern, February 2, 2018 to be considered for the program.
Helpful links and resources:
“Enlisting Bikes in the Fight Against Inequality” (CityLab, 2016)
“Placemaking When Black Lives Matter” (Annette Koh, reproduced for Project for Public Spaces, 2017)
“Reimagining our Streets as Places: From Transit Routes to Community Roots” (Project for Public Spaces, 2015)
“For People of Color, Barriers to Biking Go Far Beyond Infrastructure, Study Shows” (Streetsblog, 2017)
“4 Tips for Better Community Engagement” (Strong Towns, 2017)
Walk/Bike/Places is North America’s largest active transportation and placemaking conference. Autonomous vehicles are only one of many topics that will be addressed by our conference program. For more details about our Call for Proposals and conference outcomes, please visit www.walkbikeplaces.org/proposals. The deadline for all proposals is 8 pm Eastern, February 2, 2018.
For information about becoming a conference sponsor or exhibitor please contact email@example.com. For the latest news follow us at Walk/Bike/Places. Walk/Bike/Places was established in 1980 and is produced by Project for Public Spaces.