Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Pathways to Displacement

"At least 330,000 urban housing units were destroyed as a direct result of federal highway building projects between 1957 and 1968. In the early 1960s, federal highway construction dislocated an average of 32,400 families each year."

"Highways and the urban renewal destroyed more inner-city housing than was being built at the time, Mohl says. The expressway building of the 1950s and the 1960s produced the much larger, more spatially isolated and more intensely segregated second ghettos characteristic of American society today.

Eventually, political pressure on federal officials led to a softening of the narrow, technocratic engineering mentality that had dominated interstate construction. As a result, some routes were altered to avoid neighborhood destruction, while other projects were canceled.

Congressional legislation also was enacted to require highway projects after 1965 to provide relocation housing in advance of construction. By that time, Mohl says, most of urban interstates were in place and their damage was done.

'History has no easy lessons,' Mohl says. 'What can we learn is how we got where we are and develop a sensitivity to the problems that occurred getting here.'"

From Pathways to Displacement by Sean Selman


Dividing Lines: The Ethnic Implications of Interstates

No comments: