Bias In City Planning Hurts Quality Of Life For Many

NYC Panorama Model
via Flickr
Brooke Brown
December 22, 2019

Many believe urban design is a result of altruistic architects and politicians, working on behalf of the will of the people. 

But in practice, city planning has a lot to do with population control. Exactly who are developers trying to block out or force in? And how?

Politicians, real estate investors, and neighbors with their own prejudices and personal agendas have a long history of engineering segregation into law and public spaces, from parks to highways.

Such was the case when it was time to shape NYC into the sprawling metropolis it is today.

Power-wielding urban planner Robert Moses had such contempt for Black people that he intentionally constructed Long Island Parkway overpasses so that their overhead clearance was too short to let any buses (transporting say, Black people) through to enjoy the borough’s suburban beaches. 

And we can’t forget about Mayor Mahool…

In 1910, Baltimore Mayor Mahool patted himself on the back for passing the country’s first zoning laws that, in his words, would keep “Blacks...quarantined in isolated slums” to prevent “disturbances,” “communicable disease,” and drops in property values for white neighborhoods.

Biased decision making is persistent. 

It’s important to know that communities have the POWER to publicly pressure politicians, developers, and planners to ensure that new projects meet residents’ needs for quality affordable housing, transit infrastructure, accessible green spaces, etc. We won’t be pushed out!

We have a quick favor to ask:

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