As a child, I grew up in a low-lying, poor part of my hometown Ufa, Russia. It was an area subject to toxic urban runoff, seasonal flooding, and a myriad of social issues. I often wondered why life was so much easier for people living in the upper part of town. There, it didn’t flood. Power outages were rare. Most people had indoor plumbing and did not have to deal with floating outhouses in the event of seasonal flooding. For families in our neighbourhood, moving to the upper part of town was largely out of reach. Back then, I didn’t know the words to describe the structural inequity due to race, class, and gender. I didn’t fully understand the limited upward mobility or the vicious cycles of poverty and vulnerability that locked my neighbours out of a brighter, alternative future. I was lucky. I studied very hard. Amazing scholarships set me on a path to learn about the growing profession of emergency management. I moved to Canada. My parents, however, still live where I grew up, faced with the same issues that have only become more acute with the growing inequity gap.
In this carefully curated issue, we bring you some food for thought to challenge your understanding of inequity in your work. Building on the foundations of emergency management, we bring in lenses from public health, architecture and design, health care systems, decolonization and Indigenous ways of knowing. Through this variety of perspectives, we aim to answer the question, why does inequity matter?