3 ways we can redesign cities for equity and inclusion | Vishaan Chakrabarti | Summary and Q&A

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3 ways we can redesign cities for equity and inclusion | Vishaan Chakrabarti

TL;DR

In this conversation, the speaker discusses the challenges cities are facing due to the current health crisis and structural racism, and emphasizes the need for a new urban equity agenda focusing on health, housing, sustainable transportation, and attainable resources.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How should cities recover from the health and equity crisis they are currently facing?

Cities should focus on creating a new narrative and social contract for themselves. Instead of embracing austerity measures, they should adopt a narrative of generosity and invest in their people. The new urban equity agenda should prioritize equitable health and housing, sustainable urban mobility, and attainable social and cultural resources.

Q: How can cities address the issue of unaffordable housing and its impact on essential workers and communities of color?

Cities can start by repurposing empty office spaces and older buildings into affordable housing, especially in areas where demand for office space may decrease due to remote working. They can also explore the use of brownfield sites and other available spaces to build mixed-income affordable housing. Addressing the issue of unaffordable housing is crucial for improving public health outcomes and creating a more equitable society.

Q: How can a new urban equity agenda be implemented and funded?

Implementing a new urban equity agenda may require borrowing money and investing in infrastructure to create equitable opportunities. This can be done through deficit spending, as well as increasing taxes for those who can afford it. Cities have significant budgets, and redirecting funds to prioritize social equity and social debt can lead to positive change.

Q: What should be done to prioritize healthy and low-emission urban transportation systems?

It is important to rethink how public spaces are utilized and allocate more space to walking, biking, and low-emission public transportation, rather than private cars. By reducing the amount of road space dedicated to private vehicles and promoting alternative modes of transportation, cities can prioritize health, reduce emissions, and create a more efficient and pleasant urban environment.

Q: How can the fracturing of families in urban cities be addressed and included in a new equity agenda?

A new equity agenda should take into account the challenges faced by families, especially Black families, in urban cities. This includes addressing higher rates of unemployment, sickness, and lack of property ownership. Policies should focus on providing support for women-headed households and ensuring diverse representation in government, so that the needs of different communities can be understood and addressed effectively.

Q: How can schooling and education be reformed to reduce inequality in urban cities?

Educational policies need to be restructured to address the divide between those who can access quality education and those who can't. Instead of relying on zoning and rezoning, communities should be involved in decision-making processes to identify their needs. Repurposing empty storefronts as classrooms or educational spaces, providing vocational training, and creating a cradle-to-grave educational system can help ensure equitable access to education in urban cities.

Q: How can changes in office life and remote working impact cities?

While it is difficult to predict the future, it is possible that there will be a reduction in commuting as remote working becomes more prevalent. However, face-to-face interaction in offices still plays a crucial role in sparking innovation and creativity. It is likely that there will be a mixed situation, where some people continue to work remotely while others return to the office. Overall, the form of cities may change, but the need for human connection and interaction will remain important.

Q: How can architecture schools adapt their pedagogy to match the changing needs of cities and societies?

Architecture schools need to integrate principles of equity, sustainability, and attainability into their pedagogy. This involves rethinking existing narratives, diversifying faculty, and engaging with local communities to address their needs. Ensuring that students understand the instrumental role they can play in implementing policies and bringing positive change to cities is crucial. The focus should be on creating a new generation of architects, urban planners, and landscape architects who are passionate about transforming cities for the better.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Cities should focus on recovery from the health crisis and the structural racism highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • Investing in people and creating a new narrative of generosity, rather than austerity, is essential for cities.

  • An urban equity agenda should prioritize equitable health and housing, sustainable urban mobility, and attainable social and cultural resources.

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