Union Street, City of Vancouver

In addition to my role as a new Price Tags contributor (thanks all for reading!), I have an academic and professional background in transportation, social equity, and the environment, and currently specialize in planning for transport equity, with an emphasis on walking and cycling.

Invariably tied to this are important considerations that relate to transport, such as land use and development (commercial and residential), climate change, displacement, gentrification, and (of course), the needs and wants of actual people.

Thus, when planning for transport equity, it is about more than just finding ways to engineer our way from point A to B. It is about finding ways to create safe, secure, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable places (yes! streets are places!) that improve mobility and accessibility fairly, and assist people in their ability to participate and flourish in socio-economic life.

With equity emerging as a hot topic, I often hear the question: “what is equity?”  and, depending on the context, “how can it be achieved?”. In reality, equity can be defined in many ways, and there are also many ways one can work to achieve it.

For all these reasons, I will be authoring a series called “Equity Perspectives”, aimed at providing equity-related perspectives and insights on a variety of topics. My hope is that this series can contribute to a better understanding of what equity is, and how it can be more effectively incorporated into planning and policy-making.

I encourage your feedback, including topics you would like me to explore or provide commentary on!

Up next – Equity Perspectives #1:  City of Vancouver Granville Bridge Connector & the Mobility Equity Workshop

Comments

  1. So-called “infill” development tends to densify along busy arterials, not just in Vancouver, but in many cities in North America and around the world. Proximity to transit is the reason for this development pattern, but it is accompanied by the downsides of proximity to traffic noise, traffic related air pollution and collsion hazards. Often, these negative effects are ignored in city planning. For example, Vancouver has no noise standards for outdoor living spaces such as children’s play areas, courtyards, decks etc., despite the creation of such guidelines for Canada in 1981 and by the WHO in 1999. I think there may be a eco-equity/eco-justice issue here you might comment on.

    1. Thank you, David! Infill development does make for interesting conversation. Will definitely keep in mind going forward.

  2. The City of Vancouver held an excellent workshop recently, on the use of Accessibility Metrics in transportation planning. The accessibility they were discussing was about access to places, not universal accessibility. An example would be that we used to talk about xx km of bike lanes as a planning metric. A better metric, and one which can be used to highlight equity issues, is to calculate what percentage of the population live within xx metres of a bikeway that is comfortable for most riders. Same idea for transit access. There was a good graph that talked about how many people lived within a 20 or 30 minute transit trip to Granville Island. Add an elevator up to the many bus lines crossing the bridge, and a bus stop,and see how much accessibility was improved in terms of how many people could now access Granville Island by transit in the same time.

    1. Hi Jeff! I am familiar with those who were invited to that workshop and worked with a number of them while at McGill. Level of accessibility can be a very effective tool to assess equity!

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