Santa Monica Offers Affordable Housing to Residents Displaced by Freeway Construction

A new program seeks to make restitution for the damage inflicted on Black communities by highway construction and urban renewal.

1 minute read

January 2, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Pacific Ocean

Paper Cat / Shutterstock

In yet another acknowledgement of the harm done to predominantly Black communities by more than a half-century of urban renewal and freeway construction programs, the beachside city of Santa Monica "will offer affordable housing to those forced out by freeway construction and those removed in the late 1950s when the city bulldozed another Black area, Belmar Triangle, to build the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium." As reported by Liam Dillon, the program will give preference on the city's affordable housing wait list to qualifying families, including the children and grandchildren of displaced residents.

"Nationwide, more than 1 million people lost their homes in just the first two decades of interstate construction alone. Early on, highway planners targeted many Black neighborhoods for destruction, and displaced families often received little compensation." But while the program is an important step, city leaders acknowledge it can't make up for the loss of homes, livelihoods, and generational wealth caused by displacement.

Elsewhere in the country, the city of Evanston, Illinois has created a reparations program for Black residents, and Portland, Oregon offers priority in the city's affordable housing programs to families who experienced displacement in that city, while a proposed bill in the California state legislature would ban freeway expansion in historically underserved communities.

Sunday, December 26, 2021 in Los Angeles Times

Close-up of 'Red Line Subway Entry' sign with Braille below and train logo above text in Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago Red Line Extension Could Transform the South Side

The city’s transit agency is undertaking its biggest expansion ever to finally bring rail to the South Side.

November 24, 2023 - The Architect's Newspaper

stack of books

Planetizen’s Top Planning Books of 2023

The world is changing, and planning with it.

November 24, 2023 - Planetizen Team

Row of brick three-story townhomes in Britih Columbia.

More Affordable Housing for People, Less for Cars

Most jurisdictions have off-street parking requirements that increase motorists’ convenience but reduce housing affordability. It’s time to reform these policies for the sake of efficiency and fairness.

November 20, 2023 - Todd Litman

View of downtown Seattle with construction cranes and cloudy sky as seen from top of Space Needle.

Seattle Council Rejects Transportation Impact Fee

Councilmembers who opposed the proposal say the fee would have slowed housing development and raised housing costs.

50 minutes ago - The Registry

Close-up of driver's side of silver truck with cloud of dirty emissions from tailpipe.

FHWA Issues Emissions Tracking Rule

The agency will require states to monitor transportation emissions and create plans to address air pollution.

1 hour ago - Route Fifty

Close-up of bus driver from behind with only hand visible on steering wheel.

FTA Proposes Measures to Prevent Transit Operator Fatigue

Public transit is the only type of transportation not already subject to ‘hours of service’ and fatigue risk management regulations.

3 hours ago - Safety & Health

Assistant/Associate Professor in Indigenous Planning

University of New Mexico - School of Architecture & Planning

Principal Planner

Placer County

Coastal Program Analyst III

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.