May 5, 2021
First, a call to defund the police that gained traction during the social justice protests of 2020 and now President Biden's proposed investment in the modernization of streets leads us to reimagine how we design our streetscapes.
In her 2019 book, Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom, Columbia law professor Sarah Seo explores how the rise of the automobile led Americans to accept and expect pervasive police power in the form of traffic stops — power that has disproportionately led to the deaths of Black Americans such as Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, and Daunte Wright, among so many others. It is this power that has led Black activists to broadly criticize the urbanist movement as pointless at best, racist at worst — what good are slow streets and cycling lanes if they lead to more encounters of the kind that murdered George Floyd? Sarah joins us now to explains how a combination of design, decriminalization and disarming police might lead to safer streets for all.
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