Article: Can transit enable better and more equitable urbanity?

Hämeenkatu, Tampere
Source: K8 / Unsplash

In their new research article, Karppi & Sankala (2021) write about the transit-oriented development (TOD) approach to urban planning and its effects to equity as an aspect of sustainable urbanity. TOD thinking has been associated with better and more equitable urbanity, but as Karppi and Sankala note, it requires re-thinking of the entire dynamics of urban development and how transit and accessibility are related to it.

This blog post was originally published in Kaupunki raiteilla project page by Kaisu Sahamies

You can read the whole article here. The article will also be published later this year in the journal Architectural Research in Finland (ARF).

Karppi and Sankala approach the subject through case-study data from Tampere city region and its on-going light rail transit (LRT) construction process as an example of the current TOD thinking, referencing also international examples of LRT projects. Authors argue that large game-changing transformations in urban development, like LRT systems, force established actors to reconsider their roles. Hence, policy-makers should not view them as mere transit planning issues, but rather as governance artefacts, sources of ’organized disruption’ of sorts. This has to be kept in mind in the discussion of the relation of TOD thinking, LRT systems and urban equity. As the authors note:

if left unchecked with strategic land-use tools and insightful housing policy, major transit investments in general and light rail systems in particular are prone to open the gates for unbridled gentrification rather than urban development worth being called equitable.

Hungry for more research related to TOD, LRT and Tampere tramway as a governance artefact? Check more of Kaupunki raiteilla publications here.