May 4th is the birthday of the urban evangelist Jane Jacobs, it is also the day that Urban Planners pause and reflect on the great wrath that destroyed so many American Communities. Urban Renewal Remembrance Day is the day where planners across the country reflect and remember the countless American neighborhoods destroyed in the name of progress. We remember, so we will not repeat history.
Urban Renewal continues today across the country. Federal money continues to pour in to support the complete destruction of our urban centers. Some of our most diverse, historic neighborhoods are in the cross hairs of the bulldozer.
Today, I want to share an urban renewal project underway:The I-49 Lafayette Connector, in Lafayette Louisiana. According to the State Department of Transportation, this elevated highway through the heart of the City is Arcadia’s Path Forward. This project has all the hallmarks of the historically worst urban renewal projects.
Yes, that ghost like streak is the proposed elevated highway. The people under it are all of the remaining disenfranchised community members impacted by this urban renewal project. We must learn from our mistakes of the past, and not be afraid to stop such projects. We have the history, we have the experience, and we should be smart enough to learn from our mistakes.