The federal government has proposed $20 billion in infrastructure spending to be allocated toward targeted freeway removal, a concept that has become fairly mainstream as more people are becoming aware of what's been lost to 60 years of freeway expansion. Not only has freeway expansion reinforced segregation, but the costs associated with urban freeways make them an unproductive liability that undermines the social and economic health of everything around them. So, they need to go, right?
Maybe, but a recent article from VICE posits the argument that "Tearing Down Highways Won’t Fix American Cities." It points out that freeway removal alone will not solve many of the problems that American cities face, and rather than asking whether or not freeways should be removed, what we really should be concerned with is what to do with the land once that infrastructure is gone. If we don't start addressing this question, then many of the top-down mechanisms that segregated cities in the first place could just end up being reinforced.
This week on Upzoned, host Abby Kinney and co-host Chuck Marohn "upzone" these questions—i.e., they look at them through the Strong Towns lens. They discuss some historical points behind freeway expansion and what happens next after freeway removal, when the time comes to decide how that freed-up land should be utilized.
Then, in the downzone, Chuck has been listening to some Hardcore History, and Abby is reading a book that was recommended by Strong Towns.