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Old 03-05-2014, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,342,346 times
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Philadelphia's Vine Street Expressway is an interesting example. Chinatown used to be bigger, but the VSE cut through and replaced portions some residents/businesses and separated others. Luckily the residents mitigated the severity of the impacts, which is told pretty nicely here:

Community Impact Assessment - About CIA

I'm not sure how anyone can sit at a computer and talk about how "change is constant" or how the changes outweighed the impacts. Dense/Close-knit communities being ripped up for highways is an attrocity. Funny thing is that some will stand by that it's for the greater good, yet it's rarely ever a rich neighborhood that's served with the eminent domain argument. Seems it's for the greater good if the community is poor or poorly organized.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:24 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,992 posts, read 42,048,502 times
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@memph

Is there any functional difference between a municipal expressway and a provincal freeway?
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:33 AM
 
2,825 posts, read 3,356,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
I don't quite understand how it works. Outside of destroying the houses they are built on, why do interstates divide communities so deeply? It's not like there aren't streets and sidewalks that are still there on overpasses and underpasses; anyone who wants to cross can (in theory) cross the interstate without actually setting foot on the interstate itself. So why do they isolate so deeply, and devastate communities that are on the "wrong side" of them?
Define "community".

Some people seem to believe every little collection of buildings is a "community" of some sort. From that perspective, the interstate didn't divide anything - there was already an existing imaginary segregation created by the border defining the mythical "community".
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,567,055 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Define "community".

Some people seem to believe every little collection of buildings is a "community" of some sort. From that perspective, the interstate didn't divide anything - there was already an existing imaginary segregation created by the border defining the mythical "community".
It is a similar definition as neighborhood. If where you currently live had a freeway built through the center of your neighborhood with no physical connection to either half, would your neighborhood be the same or divided?
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:42 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,035 posts, read 102,723,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
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.
Since the book dealt with Pittsburgh, not Chicago, I will answer for what I know about that area of Pittsburgh. Considering what was left up, I don't think any grand mansions were torn down. that is sort of "revisionist". Most of this housing was substandard. It sometimes costs way more to update than to build new, and when the housing isn't that valuable anyway, sometimes that is the best way to go. I do not think building the big housing projects of that era was a good idea, but I also don't think anyone knew that at the time. OTOH, some of our uber-urbanist friends on this board think we should all live in housing project-like homes, you know, massive apartment buildings.
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:21 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
e. OTOH, some of our uber-urbanist friends on this board think we should all live in housing project-like homes, you know, massive apartment buildings.
Some massive apartment buildings are housing projects. But that doesn't mean massive apartment buildings are like housing projects.
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
12,309 posts, read 12,542,530 times
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Interstate highways are not about urban renewal. Eisenhower came back from Europe impressed by the way Germany could move troops on the autobahn, and felt America needed the same infrastructure.

The first wave of community destruction came when the freeways bypassed small towns. The drop in vehicle traffic meant a drop in economic activity. Small town businesses closed as customers stayed on the interstate. Twenty or thirty years later, some of the small towns reinvented themselves as offramp bedroom communities, but the essentials of small town community had long since vanished and had to be recreated by urban transplants.

Freeways are incredibly expensive to build, and one of those expenses is acquiring right of way. I was interested to hear that Denver had put their freeway along the Platt. Portland, Oregon put I-5 on the east bank of the Willamette, which was cheap at the time but a disaster for long range urban planning. They have been debating how to move it for 50 years, but the expense of acquiring the right of way is just prohibitive. It's also an environmental mess, since all the filth and drippings of the interstate run right into the river.

Urban renewal is a separate issue. Some areas are so filthy they just have to be torn down. People are filthy animals, worse than pigs. Pigs will at least select one spot in a pasture to use as a latrine, but humans will just go wherever the urge strikes them. Most cities have no interest in becoming real estate developers, so they condemn the neighborhood, bulldoze the buildings, and sell the area for redevelopment, often as a parking lot for the freeway offramp.

In the only neighborhood where I participated in urban renewal, the "community" had collapsed long since. We turned it into a parking lot and gas station for a new Safeway store. In two city blocks, there were no owner occupied homes. The population was 100% poor white. They were given a relocation allowance and moved out to be poor somewhere else, hopefully with working plumbing.
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,714,577 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Since the book dealt with Pittsburgh, not Chicago, I will answer for what I know about that area of Pittsburgh. Considering what was left up, I don't think any grand mansions were torn down. that is sort of "revisionist". Most of this housing was substandard. It sometimes costs way more to update than to build new, and when the housing isn't that valuable anyway, sometimes that is the best way to go. I do not think building the big housing projects of that era was a good idea, but I also don't think anyone knew that at the time. OTOH, some of our uber-urbanist friends on this board think we should all live in housing project-like homes, you know, massive apartment buildings.
One of the areas in Oakland that was razed for the freeway killed Victorian homes. The freeways through downtown and west Oakland were mostly constructed around 1900 give or take. You can still see the homes that are standing in the surrounding areas. And by most definitions, victorians are "good." SF did the same thing in Hayes Valley/Western Addition. Mostly Victorians were razed.

I don't know where this weird idea is that there are only 2 housing types: 3000 square feet on half an acre and 24 story apartments with hundreds and thousands of units. There are ways to have density, and options.
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:43 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,035 posts, read 102,723,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Some massive apartment buildings are housing projects. But that doesn't mean massive apartment buildings are like housing projects.
I've been in some of the projects in Pittsburgh; I was a visiting nurse there. They're basic apartments, not *that* different from some places I rented as a young woman. They've everything you need, but they're pretty stripped down, e.g. no fireplaces, hot tubs, saunas, big closets. They generally have a playground for every few buildings, and some sort of community room, which is more than a lot of apt. complexes have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
One of the areas in Oakland that was razed for the freeway killed Victorian homes. The freeways through downtown and west Oakland were mostly constructed around 1900 give or take. You can still see the homes that are standing in the surrounding areas. And by most definitions, victorians are "good." SF did the same thing in Hayes Valley/Western Addition. Mostly Victorians were razed.

I don't know where this weird idea is that there are only 2 housing types: 3000 square feet on half an acre and 24 story apartments with hundreds and thousands of units. There are ways to have density, and options.
There were no freeways built in/through the Hill District of Pittsburgh. Feel free to browse. It goes east from downtown; Centre Ave being the main drag.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Be...7700cf1ebc7054

Who's talking about 3000 sf on a half acre?
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:55 PM
 
2,825 posts, read 3,356,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
It is a similar definition as neighborhood. If where you currently live had a freeway built through the center of your neighborhood with no physical connection to either half, would your neighborhood be the same or divided?
Well then the problem is with the definition of community and choice of granularity.

It's not "my neighborhood" - and by using that term you are already segregating it from everything else around as if this was some group of individuals deciding to locate to one area to form some sort of tribe. They aren't a tribe. The people are free to come and go and they do. The "two subdivisions" would remain just as separated from all the other subdivisions because of your abstract line of demarcation for "the neighborhood" to begin with. The residents of both continue to be residents of the same state, same county, same city, and same zip code. I don't recognize your "neighborhood" as a self-contained "community" to start with.
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