Black History Month: The Slow Streets Movement Needs More Black Voices

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As American cities shut down to slow the spread of COVID, car traffic across the country dropped by an average of 70% at one point. All those quiet roads opened the door for municipalities to tap into the Safe Streets (or Slow Streets) ethos and rethink how their many miles of pavement could be redesigned for additional or new uses. While these efforts are well-intentioned, they fail to address one basic question: Safe for whom? So far, many Safe Streets initiatives are unfolding in well-capitalized and majority-white areas that feature restaurants, shops, parks, and other cultural and leisure activities. Too often, communities of color have not been part of the equation. Architects and designers have an opportunity to change that dynamic by understanding the flow of resources, enabling more inclusive engagement and participation, and capturing measurements for success.

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