You could call it escapism, but 18-year-old Fern K. Hahn thinks of it as a theory of change—public transit that will make the Bay Area more livable for everyone. The Oakland native spent the last two years of high school mapping out hypothetical transit lines in their free time and organizing with local transit advocates.
Fern’s brand of transit optimism combines urban planning with economic justice and sustainability. “Creating spaces that people can exist in, while not in their two tons of metal,” Fern said, explaining their vision for a transit-first city.
Fern, who is trans and nonbinary, is part of a generation who grew up with all the world's information at their fingertips. Many are coming to the conclusion that society’s structural inequalities are largely features—not bugs—and that they’re perpetuated by a lack of imagination and a resignation to accept the status quo. Their work is part of a broader movement to democratize our cities by providing transportation for people who rely on it most.