Throughout this week, we’ll be exploring the town of Shreveport, Louisiana in depth, and paying special attention to a proposed highway project that threatens to run straight through the middle of the Allendale neighborhood—taking homes, businesses, and potentially, an entire incredible community with it.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Urban highways have a long and troubling history in America. After the passing of the Federal Highway Act of 1956, the federal government subsidized as much as 90% of highway construction projects—a windfall that local city planners used to many ends. Whether they were simply seduced by the Growth Ponzi Scheme or baldly utilizing highways as a pretext for destroying “urban-blight” (which disproportionately effected low-income, black neighborhoods) there’s no denying that the effect of hundreds of mid-century urban highway construction was a staggering one that we’re still reckoning with in our cities and towns today.
If you recognize your own city in the story of Allendale and I-49, we want to hear about it.
We’re challenging you to research the urban highways in your town, and show us how they’ve shaped your community (or a city you care about). Chances are, there are already great resources out there; do a little Googling, post a link, and write one sentence about what Shreveport should learn from your town’s history.
And don't forget the hashtags: #MyCityIsShreveport, #AllendaleStrong (and if you can work in a retweet, tag us @Strongtowns.)
Here’s a few examples and resources to get you going: