Loukaitou-Sideris on Creating Equitable Public Spaces

Urban Planning Professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris spoke with Dr. Wendy Slusser of the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center for a LiveWell podcast episode about the cultural determinants of design. “Professionals plan and design with the average user in mind, assuming that we all have the same desires and needs,” Loukaitou-Sideris explained. However, her research on parks and public transportation has shown that people want different things based on age, gender, cultural ethnicity and more. Many public spaces are underused because they do not meet the needs of the community. “It is much easier to use template plans than it is to identify the needs of the community and design something completely new,” she said. Loukaitou-Sideris has worked to create a senior-friendly park in Los Angeles as well as other public spaces that meet diverse cultural needs. She recommends “thinking of the city as a collection of different groups that have different needs and aspirations.”


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