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103 | Considering Just Transit for a Just City

Alissa Walker is a journalist and design advocate well-known for her work on urbanism and mobility. Her work examines pressing urban issues including mass-transit, accessibility, and climate change in the context of social justice, exclusion, and general livability.

103 | Considering Just Transit for a Just City

Alissa Walker aims to connect people with where they live through writing, speaking, and walking. Her insights are hallmarked by an unusual practice: exploring Los Angeles on foot. Understanding the city through the lens of a pedestrian has led to deep and broad insights into contemporary urbanism. 

While most cities privilege automobiles to some degree, the sprawl of Los Angeles combined with the lacking public transportation makes it almost necessary to have a car. As a result, the city is infamous for its bad traffic and long commute times. A cycle begins in which construction is done and improvements are made to infrastructure for the sake of cars, disallowing any other mode of transportation, including walking. 

As a result of car culture – in LA and elsewhere – many experience architecture and cities at the speed of traffic, losing important details in the process. Creating a healthy and equitable city is an ongoing process, requiring regular examination and critique.

Previously, Walker has written for numerous publications including Dwell, Fast Company, GOOD, Gizmodo, and the New York Times. She has been named a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow for her writing on design and urbanism and Journalist of the Year by Streets blog Los Angeles. In 2015, she received the Design Advocate award from the LA chapter of the American Institute of Architects. 

Currently, Walker is the Urbanism Editor at Curbed, which focuses on trends in development in real estate, architecture, design, and urbanism in New York and all over the world. She authors the column, “Word on the Street.” In addition, she co-hosts the “LA Podcast,” a weekly news and politics podcast. 

We were fortunate to have Alissa join us on Social Design Insights, to talk about transit accessibility, inequality and making change.


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our opening theme music for 2019 is "Bang Bang" and our closing theme is "Salvame" both by Eljuri from her album "La Lucha." The break music for this episode is "Court and Spark" by Joni Mitchell from her album "Court and Spark."