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Removing urban highways can improve neighborhoods blighted by decades of racist policies

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(Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images)
Interstate 980 and the 14th Street, 12th Street and 11th Street overpasses, from right, are seen from this drone view looking towards West Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

The Conversation, September 2021

The US$1.2 trillion infrastructure bill now moving through Congress will bring money to cities for much-needed investments in roads, bridges, public transit networks, water infrastructure, electric power grids, broadband networks and traffic safety. We believe that more of this money should also fund the dismantling of racist infrastructure.

Many urban highways built in the 1950s and 1960s were deliberately run through neighborhoods occupied by Black families and other people of color, walling these communities off from jobs and opportunity. Although President Joe Biden proposed $20 billion for reconnecting neighborhoods isolated by historical federal highway construction, the bill currently provides only $1 billion for these efforts – enough to help just a few places.

As scholars in urban planning and public policy, we are interested in how urban planning has been used to classify, segregate and compromise people’s opportunities based on race. In our view, more support for highway removal and related improvements in marginalized neighborhoods is essential.

Continue reading at The Conversation.

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