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Emily Talen on Design for Social Diversity

  • New Law Lecture Theatre 101 Eastern Ave Camperdown, NSW, 2050 Australia (map)

Dr Emily Talen teaches planning and geography at Arizona State University. Emily Talen's subject is to make neighbourhoods that are compact, walkable and diverse.

Emily said that the literature is overwhelming: compact and walkable is better for the environment (lower VMT, lower energy, transit feasibility); and for individuals (health, safety, social connection). There is data now showing changing preferences; and Emily thinks the US has turned a corner on its obsession with low density. 

Much progress has been made in measuring walkability, using a tool called WalkScore .

But the reality in the US according to Emily is that 'compact and walkable' is not coincident with 'diverse'. Using the WalkScore tool, Emily has found that 71% of subsidised housing units in the US are in unworkable neighbourhoods. That 'compact and walkable' is moving away from 'diverse' worries her. Emily canvassed possible strategies for achieving the goal of neighbourhoods that are compact, walkable and diverse: in other words, affordability in desirable places. 

Read the full report from the event here.

Listen to the talk.