Student Work

  • Theories of Urban Practice (MA)

    Dimitra Kourrisova

    Subway Politics: Aiming for Public Participation in Transit Planning

    The purpose of this study is to suggest a framework for public participation in transit planning, using Staten Island as a platform, by assessing participatory methods employed by the MTA during its Comprehensive Staten Island Bus Study. The disconnect between the MTA and the public is evident in terms of both citizen involvement during planning processes and the MTA’s daily operations. Historically, mass transit planning has been primarily treated as a technical problem, entangled in quantitative data and CAD simulations. An understanding of the direct effect on social transformations in the city has been lacking, and this lack often results in policies driven by technical data that is difficult for the average person to understand, let alone engage with. In the words of Kaufmann, “There is too much transport in the study of travel and not enough society.”The first part of this study challenges the notion of mobility (specifically in terms of public transportation) and its implications in the U.S. context, while posing the question of what participation could mean in the realm of transit science. This study also aims to unfold certain processes of transit making, by looking into the inception and development of New York City's transportation as a system that historically excluded the working class, and still does to this day.