Can Streets Discriminate?

Sunday, August 9, 2020

What Is It

City streets play an important role in our everyday lives. We commute to work, walk our dogs, meet our friends, and stage protests on city streets. In theory, streets are open for anyone to physically access. But do streets, by their design, actually discriminate against certain people? If so, who has less access to city streets? Is the design of our cities a political matter? Can we even talk about cities as being just or unjust by design? Or are they simply inconvenient, or poorly designed, for some? Josh and Ray hit the streets with Shane Epting from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, Co-Director of the Philosophy of the City research group. 

Listening Notes

  • Roving Philosophical Report: Holly J. McDede investigates competing visions for public space at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. A longer version of this story, co-reported and co-produced by Julia Llinas Goodman, originally aired on KALW’s Crosscurrents.

Comments (1)


Tim Smith's picture

Tim Smith

Monday, August 10, 2020 -- 6:26 AM

We are not going to design

We are not going to design our way out of discrimination, especially in a conversation and blog post picture that seems to imply good design of a park bench is to serve as a bed for the homeless. This is the same mistaken premise that foists social work onto our police, and I might add anarchists at our police stations.

Social injustice needs fundamental justice that respects human rights, not design criteria. Great design helps, but we're polishing turds here not rewriting the constitution. Turd polishing has ever, will ever, be the duty of design.

Pig lipstick.