Taxing Egalitarianism? The Congestion Pricing Debate with panelists Jean-Christophe Agnew, Charles Komanoff, Jeffrey Risom and Jeffrey Zupan.
Congestion pricing - the idea that private cars should pay a steep fee to enter the urban core - is at the center of the battle over the future of urban life. While the debate often focuses on excessive exhaust fumes, crumbling infrastructure, unending traffic, and the burden of increased taxes, we have not yet grappled with a profound issue at stake: the free mobility of citizenry that forms one of the foundations of egalitarianism.
Historically, the modern state aimed to eliminate private tolls in favor of equal access for all classes of society. In theory, congestion pricing brings us further away from the egalitarian ideal. And yet there is an undeniable traffic problem that itself threatens equality of access for all citizens to the city. This panel brings together historians and urban visionaries to consider these and other philosophical underpinnings of the potential shift toward congestion pricing as a new mode of urban planning and governmental regulation- The New School
Jean-Christophe Agnew is Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of Worlds Apart: The Market and the Theater in Anglo-American Thought, 1550-1750 (1986) and, most recently, co-editor of A Companion To Post-1945 America (2002).
Rachel Heiman is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The New School. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Zimbabwe and New Jersey. Her current research focuses on middle class anxieties and suburban life amid contemporary economic shifts and neoliberal state policies. Her research interests include habit formation and objects of class display, zoning and the suburban landscape, youth culture and family life, white flight urban-suburban migration, and racial politics of public school redistricting debates.
Charles Komanoff is widely known for his work as an energy-policy analyst, transport economist and environmental activist in New York City. He "re-founded" NYC's bike-advocacy group Transportation Alternatives in the 1980s, co-founded the pedestrian-rights group Right Of Way in the 1990s, and wrote or edited the landmark reports Subsidies for Traffic, The Bicycle Blueprint, and Killed By Automobile.
Earlier, Komanoff gained prominence for deconstructing the disastrous economics of nuclear power as author-researcher and expert witness for states and municipalities across the U.S.
Jeff Risom is an Urban Designer and Project Coordinator and has been with Gehl Architects since 2004.
Jeff has an architectural engineering degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA. This technical education focussing on the design and construction of building systems augments Jeff's six years of experience working in the European context on projects centred on how the built environment affects social interaction and quality of life.
Currently Jeff is working with the New York City Mayor's office and the Department of Transportation to devise new standards for the quality of public space and public life in New York City.
Jeffrey Zupan serves as the Senior Fellow for Transportation for Regional Plan Association. He has a wide range of experience in transportation planning in the New York metropolitan area, gained during his 40 years in the field. He prepared the mobility element of RPA's Third Regional Plan and co-authored RPA's MetroLink: New Transit for New York. He has led RPA's work in all facets of transportation planning and policy since 1990.