• Ana Castañeda

The 2 Types of Spatial Equity in Modern Architecture and Design Explained

What’s equity in architecture? The term itself we can boil down to “general fairness for everyone while also taking everyone’s specific characteristics and needs into account.” Of course, that’s the blanket statement, the baseline definition. Equity, however, is very much a context-sensitive thing, and that’s no different with architecture, where there’s not just one kind of equity, but two.

To start things off, we’ve got the matter of equity at the workplace, what with the proper due for all kinds of workers regardless of gender and race, be it for the paycheck or achievements on the field. That one I think we can all both agree on and comprehend without much issue. However, the second type of equity isn’t as clean cut as a matter of social consciousness, rather it’s a spatial notion, a concept intended and applied to convey equity through the discipline itself and the spaces that it creates. As to what that implies, I’ll gladly list down and explain it for you down below:

1. Equity in Architecture and Design Explained

Going back to the baseline definition of equity, it is precisely through the crafting of equal conditions for different types of people, that architecture and design projects achieve said equity. This can go from something as deceptively minor such as the height and positioning of windows in grade, and below, schools, as to comply with both the height of students and teachers, to the application of ramps and elevators in general buildings. Both scenarios incorporate the different needs of individuals, thus creating equal opportunities. As such, one can view equity in general architecture and design as a solution, a pre-emptive measure that takes into account, and then proceeds to take one step beyond.

2. Equity in Urban Planning Explained

Urban planning equity follows the same vein of creating equal opportunity for different kinds of people, but instead of focusing on the logistics of just one specific building, it instead orients itself on figuring out how to make one’s life easier, while traversing public spaces. The benefits and need for this type of equity should come to no surprise, since more than a fair few reading this right now may have suffered the woes of improper urban planning. From lack and/or deficiency of public transportation, both price and performance wise, to outright haphazardly made public projects that disregards already existing living spaces and the negative impact it may have on them, and other, already-existing, veins of public transportation.

Equity in urban planning seeks to prevent these scenarios by taking the necessities of the everyday citizen into account, as well as the logistical implications of a project on the geography of the region. This connects both the needs of the people, granting equal opportunities through a properly thought-out and implemented project, and the needs of conscious urban expansion, respecting the layout of the area, be it fabricated or natural.

As you can see, equity in architecture goes a long way, not just as a centerpiece of progress and inclusion within the community, but also as a positive impact on everyday life. It’s a way of approaching projects that concerns itself first and foremost with finding a balance, between aiming to obtain the most optimal results, and utilizing the most humane and conscious strategies to achieve said results.

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