ULI Celebrates Native American Heritage Month
For decades, highways nationwide were built to connect roads and cities but often came with the added consequence of cutting off those who were already disenfranchised. The federal government and cities across the United States are now making strides to reconnect those communities and right the wrongs of the past.
Many of the infrastructure decisions that are being made today will affect us for decades to come, according to Paul Angelone, senior director of the ULI Curtis Infrastructure Initiative.
“These decisions—how we develop our built environment, whether it’s in the urban core, whether it’s in a suburban environment or in a rural environment—have an impact on our health, have an impact on our wealth, have an impact on our economic being,” says Christopher Coes, assistant secretary for transportation policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation. “That’s why reconnecting communities is so important because we know for the last 50 to 60 years, the way we’ve invested transportation dollars, the way we’ve aligned transportation dollars with land use, in many cases, was sometimes not in the benefit of the full community—and sometimes it’s actually been in direct opposition to neighborhoods.”
President Joe Biden has taken note of the inequities of the past and the infrastructure projects that historically exacerbated racial disparities. It is part of the aim of his $1 trillion infrastructure package that also funds a new Reconnecting Communities Pilot grant program that Coes, a former ULI member, describes as “an opportunity for the federal government to address the misalignment or bad decisions or past harms that we might have made.”
The program includes funding for planning and capital construction projects to bring communities back together by removing or retrofitting infrastructure. A number of cities are now building long-term community value with highway removal projects.
Read the full Highway Removals: Communities Reunite, Breaking Down Barriers, and Righting Wrongs of the Past UrbanLand article with case studies and examples from Dallas, Austin, Boston, St. Paul, Seoul, and Antwerp.
Guided by the Curtis Infrastructure Initiative’s Prioritizing Effective Infrastructure-Led Development: A ULI Infrastructure Framework, the ULI Curtis Infrastructure Initiative identifies and promotes forward-looking infrastructure investments that are equitable, healthy, resilient and that enhance long-term community value. Learn more at uli.org/infrastructure or reach out to [email protected].