The Spaces That Make Cities Fairer and More Resilient

An opinion article published in the New York Times highlights how the pandemic has underscored the importance of equitably accessible public spaces and public transportation-- and why we must use COVID-19 as an opportunity to re-capture the idea of public spaces and public transportation as an essential right that will make our communities resilient in ways that are often taken for granted.

As an example of public space helping to make communities for resilient, the article highlights Oakland as a leader in designating 10% of its roads as public promenades to allow for more widespread access to safe social distancing. San Francisco, New York and Seattle have followed suit. 

Affordable and reliable public transportation is another pillar of resilience, as it has helped essential workers and driven continued economic opportunity for society's most vulnerable. Recognizing this, cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle and Denver have made municipal bus travel free. According to the article, "We have a blind spot in the U.S. around seeing public transportation as something that has to compete in the market — rather than as an essential service and an economic engine that, particularly when it is cheap and reliable, repays investment by enabling and stimulating employment and business activity. (Whereas driving, with its enormous cost of pollution and road maintenance, is seen as a right.)"