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Changing Lanes

Visions and Histories of Urban Freeways

Joseph F.C. DiMento and Cliff Ellis

Publication Year: 2012

The story of the evolution of the urban freeway, the competing visions that informed it, and the emerging alternatives for more sustainable urban transportation.

Published by: The MIT Press

Series: Urban and Industrial Environments


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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This work would not have come together without the contributions of many generous colleagues. Indispensable were the research, editing, and organizing skills of Dr. Suzanne Levesque, whose professionalism in each area is distinguished...

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pp. xi-xiv

Few decisions have affected American cities as much as those involving urban freeways. These massive infrastructure projects have reconfigured urban form, relocated tens...

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1. Urban Freeways and America’s Changing Cities

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pp. 1-22

Decisions to develop a system of interstate highways and to make central cities potential sites for them followed inexorably after the assessment that automobiles could move quickly...

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2. The 1930s: Forays into the Urban Realm

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pp. 23-44

With the onset of the Depression in 1929 and its deepening during the following years, American cities experienced severe fiscal stress and retrenchment. Funds for highway...

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3. Urban Freeways and National Policy, 1939–1945

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pp. 45-72

Between 1939 and 1945, the nation moved from Depression to war. As production shifted to war goods, non-defense highway construction was curtailed, but the lull was...

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4. Postwar Urban Freeways: Scaling Up for a City on Wheels, 1946–1956

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pp. 73-102

Between 1946 and 1956, the freeway planning concepts worked out during the late 1930s and the war years were elaborated, expanded, and applied to particular cities. As state highway engineers, aided by the Bureau of Public Roads, assumed control...

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5. Changing Visions and Regulations for Highway Planning

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pp. 103-142

In a 1970 essay reviewing the Eisenhower presidency and its accomplishments, Daniel Moynihan decisively and dramatically declared...

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6. Urban Freeway Tales: Three Cities among Dozens

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pp. 143-208

As we have seen, perhaps no set of decisions has had more of an effect on America’s cities than the development of a system of interstate highways using central cities as potential...

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7. Conclusion and Epilogue: Urban Highways and the American City

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pp. 209-230

In the middle of the twentieth century, the construction of a new generation of high-capacity roads for American cities should have been viewed as a sophisticated synthesis of transportation planning, land-use planning, urban design, and environmental...


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pp. 231-282

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pp. 283-346

The bibliography is structured as follows: The first section contains books; edited books; conference proceedings; discussion papers; planning reviews, reports, and studies; and dissertations. The “Articles” section contains journal and newspaper articles, official bulletins...


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pp. 347-361

Urban and Industrial Environments Series

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p. 362-362

E-ISBN-13: 9780262312387
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262018586

Page Count: 376
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Urban and Industrial Environments