Daily Archives: March 21, 2016

Mobility, Planners, and Poverty

It’s amazing how someone can look at a basic set of facts and come up with completely the wrong conclusion. Such is an article in The Atlantic blaming urban poverty on highways.

“City planners,” says the article’s writer, Alana Semuels, “saw the crowded African-American areas as unhealthy organs that needed to be removed. To keep cities healthy, planners said, these areas needed to be cleared and redeveloped. Highway construction could be federally funded. Why not use those federal highway dollars to also tear down blight and rebuild city centers?”

Semuels then continues with the usual claims that highways divided neighborhoods and drained the cities of wealthy residents who moved to the suburbs, “taking with them tax revenues, even though their residents still used city services.” The result was concentrations of poverty in the cities.

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