Revising Urban History: the Interstate Highway Road Not Taken

From Denver to Syracuse, U.S. cities are looking to heal neighborhoods torn apart by the construction of the Interstate Highway System. Could an alternative way of envisioning and financing such a system provide lessons for the developing world?

January 15, 2014, 12:00 PM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


In a paper published in this month's Transport Policy, Marlon Boarnet, director of the graduate urban planning program at USC, "outlines a series of lessons that developing countries might learn from America's great road expansion experiment," writes Eric Jaffe. "By far the most compelling is his suggestion that the Interstate Highway System should have been two distinct systems: one running between cities, and another running within them."

By planning, financing, and governing intracity and intercity road systems separately, Boarnet believes the negative impacts of running highways through cities could have been avoided.  

"To be sure, the Interstate Highway System did an enormous amount of good for the United States, but in retrospect the decision to thread it through cities was a great mistake," observes Jaffe.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 in The Atlantic Cities

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