by Diana Budd
Originally published: July 18, 2016
Cities are complex organisms shaped by myriad forces, but their organization bears the fingerprints of planners and policy makers who have shaped them for decades. At the root of many of these practices is racism, and modern cities bear the legacy of that discrimination.
In an era of social protest, when movements like Black Lives Matter are bringing inequality back into the national conversation, it's time to reassess the practices that have perpetuated these problems—and how we fix them.
But the first step is understanding the urban policies that got us here. For decades, planners slashed through neighborhoods in the name of urban renewal and slum clearance, underwritten by federal funding from the Housing Act of 1949 and the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, displacing residents using tactics like eminent domain and condemnation laws.