Transit for a better and more equitable urbanity
Keywords:transit-oriented development (TOD), urban design, urban development, light rail transit (LRT)
Nordic welfare states once sought to provide their citizens with affordable and healthy housing conditions by planning compact residential areas. For a variety of reasons, this model is now in a major rupture. Strong domestic and international migration to 4-6 urban regions transforms Finland’s spatial setup. The entire process entails major challenges for urban design. Expanding urban structures constitute a massive source of greenhouse gases and are often deemed dysfunctional for reaching goals such as social sustainability, better public health or even individually perceived quality of life. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is one of the attempts to tackle these challenges. It holds a major promise for better and more equitable urbanity, but this assumes that the entire dynamics of urban development and how transit and better accessibility are related to it will be re-thought. This paper is based on case-study data from Tampere city region and its on-going light rail transit (LRT) construction process as an example of the current TOD thinking. It also makes references to comparable or otherwise interesting international LRT processes as discussed in planning journals or based on the authors’ own observations and fieldwork.