As infrastructure constructed 50 years ago reaches the end of its useful life, cities are rethinking highways and expressways. The urgent redesign and mitigation projects offer opportunities to restore parkland and community connections severed in the name of “urban renewal.” But many communities are struggling with public proposals, concluding that, unless other options are explored, they will be victimized once again.  

Earlier this year, NY Governor Kathy Hochul and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced the availability of public funds to “restore the Humboldt Parkway.” In succeeding months, the Olmsted Network and other community groups banded together to oppose the plan saying that the cap proposed by NYSDOT would not restore the Parkway and would simply perpetuate historic divides and inequities. 

What are the pros and cons of the various approaches? What examples exist that can inform this complex and emotional issue? Are cities embracing positive change or simply pursuing options that will perpetuate the same divisions caused by urban renewal in the 60s?  

On June 10, the Olmsted Network will bring experts from around the country— including Sara Zewde, Peter Park and Cindy Zerger— to offer diverse perspectives on these difficult questions. Buffalo, Atlanta, Detroit and Milwaukee are all cities with a rich Olmsted heritage that are dealing with the challenge of roadway design, and these projects will be the backdrop of the experts’ conversation.