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UA Little Rock professor explores pedestrian accessibility in Little Rock, implications for well-being of underrepresented individuals

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor will reveal disparities in sidewalk infrastructure and explore how greater pedestrian accessibility can be realized in Little Rock during a March 10 lecture.

Dr. David Baylis, assistant professor of geography, will give the talk, “Where the Sidewalk Never Begins: Race, Class, Accessibility, and Wellness in Little Rock, Arkansas,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at the Historic Arkansas Museum, Ottenheimer Auditorium, 200 E. Third St. in Little Rock.

“While there are many ways to approach the topic of accessibility and numerous modes of transportation to highlight, perhaps none are more ostensibly simplistic than walking,” Baylis said. “Yet, a cursory view of sidewalk conditions and their inconsistent presence in Little Rock’s neighborhoods reveals a highly uneven geography of pedestrian access.”

As Baylis explains, in some circles, questions of accessibility hardly come up and tend to be discussed with respect to leisure or convenience. For others, however, accessibility is a matter of well-being and even survival. In this talk, Baylis will consider the past, present, and future of pedestrian accessibility in Little Rock.

“Some Little Rock residents are faced with fundamental questions such as, ‘How will I get to work today?’ or ‘Where can my children go to play outside?’” Baylis said. “They rely on their own means, but do not necessarily have universal access to the basic safety infrastructure that sidewalks provide.”

Refreshments will be served at 7 p.m., followed by the talk at 7:30 p.m. The talk is part of the University History Institute’s Evenings with History lecture series. The event is free and open to the public.

Baylis is a human geographer with research interests in social geography, cartography, and geo-visualization.