Making Space for Equity—From Norms to Practice
Associate Professor of Urban Planning and International Development, MIT
This event will be livestreamed on the CED Vimeo Channel: https://vimeo.com/499403539
Reference to “equity” in planning has become rather ubiquitous, but can also often be viewed as a rhetorical device of the armchair warrior/scholar. In this lecture, I hope to avoid that pitfall and discuss examples of moving beyond an abstract reference to “equity” as a norm and consider its translation in practice—however complicated. In particular, I will focus on examples of foregrounding “equity” at the project level through an explicit accounting of the fairness in distribution of the material benefits a project creates, as well as the implicit benefits of expertise a project produces. I will discuss three projects to this end. The first considers equity in the context of international development cooperation in infrastructure upgrading projects in the Mozambican capital of Maputo. The second examines how equity is operationalized within a community-based internet network project in Nairobi, Kenya. A third example highlights equity considerations within a project to enhance water affordability in U.S. cities.
Gabriella Carolini is an associate professor of urban planning and international development in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT, where she leads the City Infrastructure Equity Lab (CIEL). Her research and teaching are centered on providing a grounded critical analysis of how the governance of infrastructure development—including its financial architecture, implementation practices, and evaluation—shapes the distributional fairness of infrastructure benefits, particularly for and with marginalized communities.