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Old 03-04-2014, 11:57 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,996 posts, read 102,568,112 times
Reputation: 33059

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Freeway construction was also a method used to destroy nonwhite neighborhoods. If they could not be destroyed outright, cutting a path through a neighborhood's heart would have the same effect as cutting off blood flow to a limb, resulting in further decay and providing justification for bulldozing the rest of it--urban amputation.
I'd like to remind you of what you said about conspiracy theories on another thread.
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Old 03-04-2014, 04:02 PM
 
1,594 posts, read 1,699,607 times
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Lowers property values because of all the things everyone has already mentioned. It's a bad investment.
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Old 03-04-2014, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee Ex-ex-ex-urbs
358 posts, read 415,634 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
It doesn't really matter whether a city neighborhood being demolished by highway development had been there for 20 years or 2000 years, from the perspective of people whose homes, businesses, churches and communities are being uprooted.
Neighborhoods change constantly and seem to roll over completely every generation or two. When an apartment building wears out it gets replaced by something else that may or may not be another apartment building.

So ultimately the freeway's benefits far outweigh the inconvenience they placed on the people living where they were built.

My home, that I grew up in, was taken by the county through threat of eminent domain to be made into a county park. My parents got some money for it. But they had only moved there less than 20 years earlier.

Change is constant.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:28 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,996 posts, read 102,568,112 times
Reputation: 33059
Still pushing the notion that the "Lower Hill" in Pittsburgh was some sort of nirvana, I see. When you see what's left, you can imagine what was torn down. That may not have been the best way to do things, but some (most, probably) of those homes were pits (no pun intended).
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,660,252 times
Reputation: 26651
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Still pushing the notion that the "Lower Hill" in Pittsburgh was some sort of nirvana, I see. When you see what's left, you can imagine what was torn down. That may not have been the best way to do things, but some (most, probably) of those homes were pits (no pun intended).
I've never been to Pittsburg. But I did see what they torn down in Hayes Valley/Western Addition in SF. And what they did in Oakland for BART and the construction of the giant post office.

Anyway that book isn't about the buildings they took away, but about how the people who lived in the community felt when their homes/neighborhoods/institutions were taken away. It turned into lifelong depression and a feeling of losing history and a sense of place. It killed all of the community ties that developed over years. Just like Gertrude Stein's quote about "There is no there there." All of the things that formed her sense of place were removed and destroyed. (Matt Werner: Gertrude Stein's Oakland)

Quote:
Nearly 45 years later, Stein returned to Oakland on a lecture tour in 1935. By that time, the city had grown nearly 10 times to over 300,000 residents. When she tried to find her childhood home, it was no longer there. When she published Everybody's Autobiography two years later, saying there was "no there there," it was written to reflect painful nostalgia about her home being gone and the land around it being completely changed. ....

Gertrude Stein writes in her autobiographical novel, The Making of Americans, about her childhood in Oakland, where a child "could have all anybody could want of joyous sweating, of rain and wind, of hunting, of cows and dogs and horses, of chopping wood, of making hay, of dreaming, of lying in a hollow all warm with the sun shining while the wind was howling." Returning to her home decades later to find it gone and to find Oakland no longer a place "of chopping wood, of making hay" struck her, and she wrote her famous "no there there" quote in response.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:47 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,996 posts, read 102,568,112 times
Reputation: 33059
^^The book focuses on Pittsburgh and a few other cities, according to the reviews. Here are some reviews:

"In Root Shock, Mindy Fullilove investigates the devastating and long lasting effects of urban renewal, mainly in the Lower Hill District. In my opinion, the book drags on in a dramatic and one-sided manner. Although the book does give various interesting statistics, it is hard to connect all the different perspectives. Despite the book's one-sidedness, Fullilove's message in strengthened by the personal accounts that she shares of those who have experienced "root shock" firsthand."

"Although I can see what the author is trying to accomplish by writing this book, I just can't get past how blatantly bias, one-sided, and even bigoted it is at times. The author provides some valuable information, but it is not academic quality. Any reader with a critical eye will notice paragraph after paragraph of useless information, "facts" from people recalling childhood memories, and strange outlandish connections between urban renewal and a low quality of life. To her credit, she exposes the underbelly of this renewal process, but fails to recognize how what has happened is a result of being a "product" of a particular place in time. I am really looking for some valuable information that I could cite in an academic paper, but am finding nothing but strange leaps to conclusions (there are a few good facts though) and foggy sources. I would only recommend this book as easy reading...but don't treat it as gospel."

Several people call it one-sided.

I have no doubt that having one's home torn down is devastating. Maybe I'll take a look at it.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,660,252 times
Reputation: 26651
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
^^The book focuses on Pittsburgh and a few other cities, according to the reviews. Here are some reviews:

"In Root Shock, Mindy Fullilove investigates the devastating and long lasting effects of urban renewal, mainly in the Lower Hill District. In my opinion, the book drags on in a dramatic and one-sided manner. Although the book does give various interesting statistics, it is hard to connect all the different perspectives. Despite the book's one-sidedness, Fullilove's message in strengthened by the personal accounts that she shares of those who have experienced "root shock" firsthand."

"Although I can see what the author is trying to accomplish by writing this book, I just can't get past how blatantly bias, one-sided, and even bigoted it is at times. The author provides some valuable information, but it is not academic quality. Any reader with a critical eye will notice paragraph after paragraph of useless information, "facts" from people recalling childhood memories, and strange outlandish connections between urban renewal and a low quality of life. To her credit, she exposes the underbelly of this renewal process, but fails to recognize how what has happened is a result of being a "product" of a particular place in time. I am really looking for some valuable information that I could cite in an academic paper, but am finding nothing but strange leaps to conclusions (there are a few good facts though) and foggy sources. I would only recommend this book as easy reading...but don't treat it as gospel."

Several people call it one-sided.

I have no doubt that having one's home torn down is devastating. Maybe I'll take a look at it.
After reading it, I didn't leave going "OMG why did they tear down that neighborhood, it sounds awesome." It was a collection of anecdotes, which is exactly what I expected.

I didn't grow up in an urban area, and neither did my parents. So the "inner city experience" is completely alien to me. I hadn't ever thought about the impact of losing your neighborhood on your psyche. I actually left with a lot of questions. Like why did urban renewal target black neighborhoods only. What other policies did we create that made it difficult for homes in black neighborhoods appreciate as rapidly as the white suburban ones. What other real estate policies had a huge impact on the divestment of our cities?

It actually flowed into the recent study where they found that "white" people actually thought "black" people had a higher tolerance for pain*. It seems like the decisions to teardown neighborhoods was so callous about the impact on the residents. But it isn't especially surprising considering the mind-set of the times. I think we (as Americans) have a difficult time acknowledging the racism/bias inherent to many of our policies and processes over the years, so it was a reflection of that for me.


*This is not as a race-baiting comment. Here is the study: PLOS ONE: Racial Bias in Perceptions of Others
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:24 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,858,066 times
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I am black and it is complicated. Some of the housing torn down was old/substandard. Cold water flats were common before they built the projects and sadly the projects were an improvement in terms of health, safety(if you don’t count crime), and modernity. Blacks were generally not allowed to move to any part of town either so as a group we were concentrated in certain areas even to the point of over population in some.

In the 1950ies blacks lacked as much political pull as we would latter and so the highway would tend to go into area with low housing value and could generate little political backlash. However the highways are just too big to go into black areas only. Urban renewal in terms of projects for low income targets areas with those cold water flats, nicer neighborhoods had fewer of them.

What happened was that whites moved out to the burbs and blacks wanted to move out of overcrowded substandard areas so one brave black person bought an house in an white block then the whole block quickly sold their houses at rock bottom prices. As areas changed people sold their houses at very low prices this makes it easier for landlords to buy up property and rent it out. Only problem is that the land lord might not be as responsive as a home owner about property upkeep and even if he is I hate to say it but having a lot of renters in an area can be very destabilizing. They move in and they could be nice people, or drug dealers. They move out making it hard to forge long lasting coalitions to address neighborhood problems. Low income also can be say the mother with many children who can’t monitor them and they cause havoc in the area. Anyway about it a block going from say 70% homeowner to 30% is going to have problems.

What hurt first was white flight, this took some of the income out the area. Less income equals less money for retail, repairs ,taxes, ect. There were also problems getting loans to buy property in some areas due to red lining as well as lack of insurance coverage. Latter with more integration the more well off blacks were no longer forced to live with the poorer blacks (black flight). It was just too much change over too short of a time for many areas to manage.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,760,961 times
Reputation: 1616
For what it's worth, Toronto had pretty aggressive plans for urban renewal and urban highways, despite having a fairly negligible black population at the time.


What ever happened to the Queen Street Subway Line?
The 400 extension would have gone right through the heart of Toronto's West end neighbourhoods a few blocks West of Bathurst. The Spadina expressway would have cut through some neighbourhoods between St Clair and College before continuing along a ravine from St Clair to Eglinton. The Crosstown expressway would have followed a rail corridor with industrial uses next to it at the beginning, then cut across a neighbourhood to get to the Rosedale Valley/ravine. The East Gardiner extension would have cut across a working class residents/industrial area along Carlaw before following a fairly residential railway corridor.

levyrapidtransit.ca/wp-content/uploads/1943Plan_high_res.jpg
4.2 The Master plan for the City of Toronto, December 31, 1943Edward J. Levy, Rapid Transit in Toronto
The 1943 plan was even more aggressive, with a slightly different alignment for he 400 expressway, and while it did not have the Spadina expressway, it would have moved the crosstown one further South to run along Danforth where it would have done more damage than on the rail corridor. There would also have been an additional N-S expressway in the East end.
Most of the older neighbourhoods of Toronto (South of College between Dovercourt and the Don River) would have been redeveloped according to this plan, as well as Yorkville and Huron Sussex. Some of these were redeveloped (ex Regent Park, Alexandra Park) but fortunately most were spared and the expressway plans were scrapped and I'm not sure it ever got past the stage of a highway engineer's pipe dream.
However, had these plans gone through, the damage would have probably been comparable to the damage to American cities.

The Spadina expressway came close to getting built, but neighbourhood opposition (mostly white, middle class+ so relatively influencial politically) stopped it and was cancelled in 1971, which also mean the Crosstown/Richview expressway largely lost its purpose. The 400 extension was still being considered and the suburban portion go built as Black Creek Drive, but the urban portion was scapped by 1982 (I think the Gardiner East plan was also scapped around that time). It's worth noting that most of these plans lingered pretty late, I think most American cities were fast to move ahead with their plans, building the freeways in the 50s and 60s.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,760,961 times
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As for the substandard housing, I still think it would have been more sensible to just update the housing without destroying it.

Was much of the housing in Chicago's South Side cold water flats? From what I can understand, the housing was considered pretty high quality and the neighbourhoods were fairly wealthy around the late 19th century, although the standards of that time were not the same as those of the mid 20th century.
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