Moving beyond Fordism:“Complete Streets” and the changing political economy of urban transportation
Sadly, that Complete Streets is even lauded as an innovation illustrates the level of ignorance displayed by generations of transportation planners and engineers for the daily risks facing an actually highly diverse set of road users. But, planners and engineers don’t act in a vacuum-they are situated within city and county
governments, directed by elected ofﬁcials and pressured by wider groups of citizens and stakeholders, all of which reflect and reproduce broader social norms and expectations. Similarly, Complete Streets concepts didn’t fall to Earth from outer space-they also arise in a particular social context, and similarly, didn’t arise in other contexts. This chapter situates innovations in urban transportation planning such as Complete Streets into those social contexts. Lewis Mumford’s (1963) quote above reminds us that these ideas are now decades old, and so I ask in this chapter: “Why now?” In doing so, I offer some tough challenges to planners and engineers hoping to use Complete Streets to achieve transportation equity goals.