Spatial Equity at HASTAC 2023

Using data to reveal conditions and experiences of inequity can be a critical tool in the fight against socio-spatial inequalities (Williams, 2020). Although many cities house extensive collections of data that are freely available, much of it is not accessible to policy-makers and community representatives without having prior data literacy (D’Ignazio, 2017; Williams, 2020). Too often, individuals who want to use data are, instead, the subjects of data, and they are not able to harness its power to effect tangible change (D’Ignazio, 2017; Rosan et al. 2022). In seeking to address and reverse spatial inequity, data access, data transparency and data literacy are critically important to building knowledge convergence amongst urban decision-makers and citizens, and to empowering individuals to advocate for and enact policy-level solutions (D’Ignazio, 2017; Hagen et al. 2019; Williams, 2020; Rosan et al. 2022).

This roundtable on Spatial Equity Tools at HASTAC 2023, invited participants to discuss the concept of spatial equity, as both a process and an outcome (Buhangin, 2013), and consider tools that have been deployed in identifying, measuring, and evaluating equity in the public realm (Kuruppuarachchi et al. 2017; Finio et al. 2020; Zrzavy et al. 2022). Participants discussed current barriers to spatial equity tools (Zrzavy et al. 2022), reflected on a recently launched tool, Spatial Equity NYC, and discussed an in-progress tool for community knowledge building in Philadelphia, PREACT (Planning for Resilience and Equity through Accessible Community Technology).

The discussion also focused on the critical role of community participation in driving and directing the creation of data-informed equity narratives that have the ability to inform urban policy changes. This included the importance of inclusivity in participation, and the representation of diversity (race, class, gender, socio-economic status) in tool development. The roundtable concluded with an examination of the validity, applicability and scalability of action-oriented, knowledge-building equity tools, such as Spatial Equity NYC and PREACT, and collaboratively explored tool development best practices in building data transparency and citizen empowerment through community co-production, in the fight for spatial equity in the public realm.

Panelists included:
Sarah Williams, Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism
Christina Rosan, Temple University
Jessie Singer, Transportation Alternatives
Juan Camilo Osorio, Pratt Institute
Alia Soomro, New York League of Conservation Voters