What does Edward Soja mean by ‘spatial justice’ and why is it important to the good society? A recent McMaster study suggests children are at greater risk of being hit by vehicles driving through their neighbourhood than from drivers who live nearby, posing particular dangers in poorer, downtown areas where traffic levels tend to be highest. The research points to the issue of high traffic in low-income residential neighbourhoods, where drivers are more likely to take shortcuts to avoid congested main roads. “Our findings suggest these drivers pay less attention in areas they are unfamiliar with or don’t have a connection to,” says Niko Yiannakoulias, an assistant professor in the Department of Geography & Earth Sciences and lead author of the study.
This research also shows the importance of place, that when people are connected to a place, they care about it more and pay more attention to its characteristics. Back to social justice, “Motor vehicle commuters impose a burden on these neighbourhoods,” says Yiannakoulias. “The traffic levels are disproportionally high and local residents generally don’t benefit from people driving through their neighbourhood.”