As 2023 begins, we’re excited to release the second issue of Subtext – a zine project aimed at creating space for women to share their stories and experiences of working in the transportation field in their own words, through the mediums that most resonate with them.
This second issue explores notions of power and how power is constructed. The past few years have brought a wave of efforts by organizations to expand diversity and inclusion efforts. While there’s been some progress, many continue to struggle with processes and outcomes that leave essential voices unheard, and replicate inequity and oppression.
In order to create systems that truly benefit users we must look at who holds power and interrogate the results of their decisions.
These pieces written by Laurel Paget-Seekins, Ambar Johnson, Angelle Bradford, and Richa Poudyal ask us to confront the old ways of doing things, and in turn make us question how our spaces might differ if more people were given the opportunity to influence decision making. Laurel Paget-Seekins’ piece explores how spatial design in the workplace can influence who has access to power, and how some of those power imbalances have been replicated in the digital workplace. In Ambar Johnson’s piece, the question of spatial design is taken outside – she looks at the way we design public space and the placement of street furniture and as a clue to how we should work, Angelle Bradford looks at how challenging it is to make change as an advocate when processes seem intent on keeping public voices out. Finally, Richa Poudyal’s poem says goodbye to the old way of doing things, and asks us to consider what the world looks like when we center new voices.
This issue also pays homage to the work of women operators and frontline staff who help to keep our cities moving despite the immense challenges of their jobs. They share in their own words what keeps them motivated to do the work.