DESIGN OF A PRIORITIZATION METHODOLOGY FOR EQUITABLE INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING; HOW DOES ZONING AND LAND-USE POLICY IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA, AFFECT WALKABILITY OF CITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS?
Kannoth, Aditya, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Rogers, Hannah, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Bailey, Reid, EN-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia
For my capstone project, our team designed an equitable prioritization approach for infrastructure projects in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, focusing on making schools easier to walk to. My STS thesis is about how land-use and zoning policy affects the walkability of Charlottesville elementary schools. The prioritization approach is a solution we are looking to put into practice rather than our work being centered around development and testing of a hypothesis. As a result, our evaluation of the approach’s success has been based upon how well it addresses the concerns and ideas of stakeholders. These stakeholders have included local transportation experts, elementary school leadership, and Charlottesville community leaders. The approach was made user-friendly, yields measurable results, and incorporates socioeconomic equity considerations as requested by those stakeholders. This technical project is intended for use by the city and the school system, specifically Charlottesville’s Bike and Pedestrian Planner and Safe Routes to School Coordinator in perpetuity in order to rectify the lack of an equitable approach. Through the process of developing this prioritization approach, I learned about the stakeholders that would be best to hear from regarding the development of Charlottesville’s landscape, and about the current state of that landscape in relation to walkability. I also was able to leverage the information gained from the technical project in my thesis regarding the school system and the expansion and current makeup of the elementary schools in Charlottesville. Analysis of Charlottesville’s zoning policy and its effect on walkability was done through the Social Construction of Technology STS framework. It was determined that the actions of city planners and the residual effects of segregation within Charlottesville city limits resulted in the less dense, single-family oriented city we see today. The city also oversaw selective disinvestment in certain communities, especially those composed of racial minorities. The work done in this thesis is very important in terms of establishing a relationship between the intentional zoning policies enacted by the city and the lack of walkability within the city of Charlottesville, but this did not occur in a vacuum. Throughout the United States, plenty of municipalities developed and implemented similar zoning policies, leading to the often-negative effects we see today. The research done for this thesis informed my technical project, especially as it came to the history of the city and understanding the concerns of stakeholders. These stakeholders were often representing traditionally marginalized communities, and understanding how the city came to be the way that it is was a large part of understanding the importance of equity in the technical project.
BS (Bachelor of Science)
infrastructure, zoning, Charlottesville, walkability
School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering
Technical Advisor: Reid Bailey
STS Advisor: Hannah Rogers
Technical Team Members: Rahul Dhansinghani, Ayman Ibrahim, Claire Miller, Lena Nguyen, Steven Pham