The Equity Initiative

africa girls in trafficThe goal of this open collaborative project and crowd sourcing exercise, which spans the period January 2012 to December 2013, is to organize, hold and report on a series of public dialogues in a certain number of host cities and government groups on different continents, meeting with and seeking out  the views of a broad cross-section  of people, groups and interests who are ready to brainstorm on  the concept of equity as a potential base for a new transport paradigm and  strategy for the city.

This concept of creating a high-efficiency  equity-based transport system for your city is an amazingly straight-forward as well as effective approach to transport policy and practice, in that once you understand and accept the basic principle a huge number of other good things follow. That said, a caveat: what we are looking at here, i.e., the transportation arrangements in a city, are complex adaptive systems, with all that implies when ti comes to developing a coherent and effective policy frame for the sector.

The work and collaboration program for The Equity Initiative for 2013 is organized in six main parts as follows:

  1. World Streets/ The Journal
  2. Presentations, workshops and seminars
  3. Collaborative City Investigations
  4. Equity Audits
  5. Media projects
  6. Book (World Streets Editions)

For first background information on this collaborative programs, we suggest you start here on the top menu, and then work your way down the links that you will see just to your right.

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1. World Streets 2013 publication program

World Streets has been looking closely at the issues of equity as a possibly major organizing device for more effective and fairer transport policy and practice in cities since 2009. For a comprehensive listing of all postings and references on the equity theme published here click to http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/equity/.

More recently we have been developing a series of articles and reference pieces which are specifically intended to support the equity program over 2013, and in particular in support of the forthcoming book being prepared by the editor for publication in summer 2013. This considerably shorter listing is available at http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/equity-book/ and being added to regularly.

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2. Presentations, Workshops and Seminars

The Equity theme is, slowly, starting to get more attention in transportation policy circles, both in the OECD countries and the developing world. It is still however for the most part unknown and often confusing as well as seriously  underdocumented, at least from the perspective of a proposed major policy device. For this reason, the editor of World Streets, who is also the principal author of the equity book in progress, is being asked to provide presentations, workshops and seminars on the topic in cities around the world. The results of these two way conversations and exchanges constitute important building blocks in the process of clarifying and strengthening the basic underlying concepts and procedures.

Presentations of the program depend entirely on the context. They may run up to a half day, or as a talk to an assembly introducing the program and inviting questions and discussions.

Workshops are normally half- or full-day events, again with the agenda, etc. to be carefully worked out with the host organization.

The seminars may spin over several days or consecutive half-days. These normally are intended to provide a first round of discussions and preparation for an eventual project to follow.

For further information on organizing events, get in touch with the editor via the Contact link here – http://wp.me/PsKUY-MR.

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3. Collaborative City Investigations

The first major collaborative city project in support of the Equity Initiative took place last year in Helsinki, the full results of which are available here at http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/helsinki-equity/. You can also access from the top menu item for the project with a special section on the Helsinki project postings and results.

We are presently discussing the possibility of several collaborative city projects for 2012, each building on what was done and learned in the Helsinki project, which involved no less than two full weeks in place, with strong support from the local host at the highest levels. Again, a perusal of the Helsinki information available here should help to make the procedure clear.

This approach will be appropriate for city’s whose leadership is ready to look really hard at new ideas and approaches. the mission must be carefully prepared and supported. And to have an idea for the eventual breadth of outreach when it come to bringing in local organisations and interests, let us refer you to the “Equity Outreach” presentation which is available here – http://wp.me/psKUY-2NM.

(More to follow here.)

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4. Equity Audits 

These audits are great and original projects and they work like this (with considerably variations, depending) . They start by opening up a public dialogue looking for very specific answers  to the questions: “Are our transportation arrangements equitable? Examples, counter-examples, commentary and recommendations.”

There are three levels or types of audit.

Financial Audit: The first is the Financial Audit, in which the team works with a wide variety of organizations and sources, and above all with the city,  to get a good feel for the total flow of public  funds into the sector for planning, constructions, maintenance, operations and support, in support of cars and other modes (public and private), soft transport, etc.  Funding from the city, eventually neighborhoods or quarters, extended metro area, region, national and international (if any).  Other financial flows of funds into the sector need also to be pinned down, user charges, attributed taxes, tolls, fees, employers contributions, etc. In short, who is paying what, and where is the money going. To serve whom? (It is our experience that if you find the right numbers person in the city a pretty good first cut of these figures can be worked up in once concentrated morning.)

Institutional/User Audit: Who is representing and how the interests and concerns of the key groups that make up the community as a whole. Pedestrians,  cyclists, drivers, public transport users, associations, elderly, handicapped, car users, local business, retirement groups, churches and religious groups, outlying communities, etc.  Whose voice is being heard? With what success? And what is most notably missing? (At this point this is intended just as a suggestive listing, Again for an extensive listing of all of the institutions, interests and groups that together make up the transportation environment of any city, see http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/outreach-for-success-local-actors-implementation-partners/ here. )

Modal/Service Audit: These data will be readily available and are also useful for the equity overview. Cars, taxis, motorised two-wheelers, pubic transport by mode, car rental and sharing, parking, cycling, pedestrians,  etc.

Non-car majority: Put numbers to the scheme out lined here  at http://wp.me/psKUY-2X3

It has been often said that if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. And in the case of an at-first amorphous concept like equity, we need to start to have some kind of baselines. Which is what these audits are all about.

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5. Media projects

(Section incomplete for now)

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6. Book Project

(Section incomplete for now)

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From this point on these are draft materials to be edited and entered into the final page. Thank you for your understanding.

Working draft of 25 March 2013 (under revision): <

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What kind of book?

If you want to have an advanced  taste for some of the content, approach  and the general voice of the book, you may want to consider clicking to  http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/equity-book which will all up a selection of articles and comments which are now in process for the final. Please understand that these are incomplete working drafts, and moreover that they are of uneven quality up to now. That is part of the challenge.

In the meantime, you may note when you call them up they are presented to you simply with the latest postings on top. Which of course is not the order in which they are being treated in the book now in process.

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** To be completed shortly **

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