Defending Urban Freeways At All Costs Ignores the Potential of Cities

When freeways are dismantled, economic, and social benefits often follow. A mid-20th Century mechanistic view fails to understand such outcomes.
D.L. / Flickr

On the week that the Congress for the New Urbanism released its twice-yearly Freeways Without Futures list to draw attention to urban Interstates that should be dismantled, a Virginia historian threw cold water on the entire argument.

Swift acknowledges that urban Interstates contributed to a "North American style of daily living that is utterly dependent on the automobile," and that boring these highways through neighborhoods damaged cities and their inhabitants. “The collateral damage was extreme,” he says.

He nevertheless endorses a mid-Century mechanistic view of planning that is at odds with the view of urbanists, who think in terms of synergies. Here’s the mechanistic approach: A road is a road and a car is a car. If you have cars to move, you build a road. You expand the road when necessary.

Full Story: Defending urban freeways at all costs ignores the potential of cities


building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245