Human Mobility & Urban Metabolism|My homework helper

Posted: February 12th, 2023

All reflection discussions must be 1-2 pages (approx. 500 words) and use APA citation style.

  1. Provide citations for 2 readings (APA citation style)
  2. Provide a summary for each reading
  3. Discuss the major theme(s) or argument(s) of each reading
  4. In 1-2 paragraphs, discuss your thoughts on the readings and how they connect to the week’s lesson.

    11/16/2020 The Role of Highways in American Poverty – The Atlantic

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    Sunday tra�ic from New York City to the Jersey Shore in 1941  (LIBRARY OF CONGRESS )

    Editor’s Note: is article is adapted from remarks delivered by the author on March 16 at

    the University of Arkansas’s Clinton School of Public Service, in Little Rock.

    Little Rock is a fascinating city. With its river and renovated warehouses and bustling

    River Market district, it reminds me a little bit of Pittsburgh, where I lived a decade ago

    when I was starting my journalism career. At that time, Pittsburgh was still the butt of

    many jokes, though determined city planners were starting to drive the transformation

    that’s made it so popular. Today, there’s a growing population downtown and tech

    companies are locating in the city once known for steel.

    It’s a funny thing about cities: ey’re all unique, but they sometimes experience busts

    and booms in the same way. Just look at all the cities across the country that are

    experiencing a craft-beer renaissance and have condos in renovated warehouses


    Perhaps that’s why policymakers in the 1940s and 1950s thought of cities as human

    bodies, bodies that had sicknesses and required cures. Bodies that got sick from the

    same diseases and would improve from the same medicine.


    e postwar years were a time of unprecedented prosperity, when Americans were

    buying refrigerators and televisions and homes, and wanted to leave the crowded heart

    of city centers for space to put all their new belongings. e rise of the automobile

    helped them do this. In 1940, 60 percent of Americans owned cars. In 1960, 80

    percent did. Today, 95 percent of Americans own cars.

    is increase of people heading to the suburbs in their cars caused something else new:

    lots and lots of traffic. And to city planners, this was making communities unhealthy.

    By the 1950s, highways were being recommended as “the greatest single element in the

    cure of city ills,” according to Joseph DiMento, an Irvine professor who has studied

    highway construction during that era. To keep cities healthy, planners said, regions


    e Role of Highways in American Poverty ey seemed like such a good idea in the 1950s.


    What Motivates Companies to Do Good—Altruism, or Guilt?•

    e False Promise of Last Year’s Wage Gains•

    e Folly of State-Level Tax Cuts•



    11/16/2020 The Role of Highways in American Poverty – The Atlantic 2/5

    needed unclogged arteries for a working circulatory system. In short, cities needed

    highways to carry people out of the heart and to the rest of the body.

    Luckily for city planners who wanted to keep their cities healthy, there was federal

    money available to anyone who wanted to put in modern highways. While the 1944

    Federal Highway Act only offered to cover 50 percent of construction costs for

    highways, by 1956, the federal government had upped that share to 90 percent. So if

    you’re a city planner in the 1950s, you can put in roads from your city to the fast-

    growing suburbs for almost no cost at all.

    Of course, there were people who couldn’t move to the suburbs. African Americans

    were denied home loans by the federal government in certain areas, a practice called

    redlining. Restrictive covenants prevented homeowners from selling to certain types of

    people, often including African Americans. And they were also denied jobs and other

    opportunities that would have allowed them to afford to buy a home in the �rst place.

    When I was in Syracuse, I met a man named Manny Breland, who received a

    scholarship to play basketball at Syracuse, graduated with a teaching degree, and was

    denied job after job because he was black.

    In many cities, these restrictions left African Americans crowded into small

    neighborhoods. ey essentially weren’t allowed to move anywhere else.

    City planners had a solution for this, too. ey saw the crowded African American areas

    as unhealthy organs that needed to be removed. To keep cities healthy, planners said,

    these areas needed to be cleared and redeveloped, the clogged hearts replaced with

    something newer and spiffier. But open-heart surgery on a city is expensive. Highway

    construction could be federally funded. Why not use those federal highway dollars to

    also tear down blight and rebuild city centers?

    e urban planner Robert Moses was one of the �rst to propose the idea of using

    highways to “redeem” urban areas. In 1949, the commissioner of the Bureau of Public

    Roads, omas MacDonald, even tried to include the idea of highway construction as a

    technique for urban renewal in a national housing bill. (He was rebuffed.) But in cities

    across America, especially those that didn’t want to—or couldn’t—spend their own

    money for so-called urban renewal, the idea began to take hold. ey could have their

    highways and they could get rid of their slums. With just one surgery, they could put in

    more arteries, and they could remove the city’s heart.

    is is exactly what happened in Syracuse, New York. e city had big dreams of

    becoming an East Coast hub, since it was close to New York City, Pittsburgh,

    Cleveland, and Boston. (In the early days of the car, close was relative.) Use federal

    funds to build a series of highways, planners thought, and residents could easily get to

    the suburbs and to other cities in the region. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in a

    Syracuse that you could easily leave by car? And, if they put the highway in just the

    right place, it would allow the city to use federal funds to eradicate what they called a

    slum area in the center city.

    at neighborhood, called the 15th Ward, was located between Syracuse University and

    the city’s downtown. It was predominantly African American. One man who lived there

    at the time, Junie Dunham, told me that although the 15th Ward was poor, it was the

    type of community that you often picture in 1950s America: fathers going off to jobs in

    the morning; kids playing in the streets; families gathering in the park on the weekends

    or going on Sunday strolls. He remembers collecting scraps from the streets and

    bringing them to the junkyard for pennies, which he would use to buy comics.

    To outsiders, though, the 15th Ward was the scene of abject poverty close to two of

    Syracuse’s biggest draws—the university and downtown. ey worried about race riots

    because so many people were crowded into the neighborhood and prevented from

    going anywhere else. ey decided that the best plan would be to tear down the 15th

    Ward and replace it with an elevated freeway.

    e completion of the highway, I-81, which ran through the urban center, had the

    same effect it has had in almost all cities that put interstates through their hearts. It

    decimated a close-knit African American community. And when the displaced residents

    from the 15th Ward moved to other city neighborhoods, the white residents �ed. It was

    easy to move. ere was a beautiful new highway that helped their escape.

    But this dynamic hurt the city’s �nances, too. As suburbs grew, they broke off from

    cities, taking with them tax revenues, even though their residents still used city services.

    Although the Syracuse region was relatively healthy, the city started to get very sick.



    11/16/2020 The Role of Highways in American Poverty – The Atlantic 3/5

    Between 1940 and 2000, the population of the city of Syracuse shrank 30 percent, from

    about 205,000 to 147,000. e population of Onondaga County, where Syracuse is

    located, grew 55 percent, from 295,000 to 458,000.

    Even today, the region is continuing to sprawl. e population of Onondaga County

    peaked in 1970 and has stayed even since then. But residents are moving farther and

    farther out. e county has added 7,000 housing units, 147 subdivisions, and 61 miles

    of new roads since 2000. Developers build 160 units a year in areas that were once

    rural. at’s costing the county money and resources as it adds sewer systems, water

    pipes, and stormwater drainage to far-�ung subdivisions. As the county spends money,

    the city is struggling to come up with enough revenue for essential things like mass

    transit and schools.

    What’s more, as the suburbs grow, they’re continuing to make sure that only wealthy

    people can live there. ey pass zoning laws that restrict multifamily units. ey require

    minimum lot sizes so that their only residents are people who can afford to live in big

    houses. It’s a different kind of discrimination than half a century ago, but

    discrimination nonetheless.

    Today, the city of Syracuse has the highest concentration of poverty in America. What

    Flows: Urban Metabolism & Human Mobility



    Human Mobility & Urban Metabolism

    • Urban Metabolism

    • Linear & Circular Model

    • Environmental Impacts

    • Human Mobility

    • Transportation

    • Ableism & Universal Design



    Urban Metabolism

    The study of urban metabolism involves ‘big picture’

    quantification of the inputs, outputs and storage of energy,

    water, nutrients, materials and wastes for an urban region.

    Kennedy, C., S. Pincetl, and P. Bunje. “The Study of Urban Metabolism and Its Applications to Urban Planning and

    Design.” Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex: 1987) 159, no. 8–9 (September 2011): 1965–73.




    Human Urban

    Inputs Outputs



    “There is… nothing unnatural about New York City”

    –David Harvey–



    “There is… nothing unnatural about New York City”

    –David Harvey–



    “There is… nothing unnatural about New York City”

    –David Harvey–




    Inputs, Outputs & Transportation



    Linear Metabolism (Higher Rate of Pollution)

    Inputs Outputs

    The City



    Inputs Outputs

    The City

    Circular Metabolism (Minimize New Inputs and Maximize Recycling)



    Trash is Messy

    It does not stay in place



    Impervious Surfaces

    • Pavement

    • Concrete

    • Asphalt



    Natural vs. Impervious Cover







    • Reduce flooding

    • Stops trash

    • Absorbs rainwater

    • Aesthetically pleasing

    • Provides green space




    • Cars

    • Buses

    • Planes • Trains

    • Motorcycles • Bicycles

    • Scooters

    • Boats



    The Suburbs & Car Centric Society



    The Suburbs & Car Centric Society

    • Loss of homes

    • Loss of businesses

    • Air Pollution

    • Car Emissions

    • Lack of investment in public transportation







    Human Mobility Beyond Transportation



    These are Important for Human Mobility Too!





    Ableism Defined

    Ableism is the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with

    disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. At its heart,

    ableism is rooted in the assumption that disabled people require ‘fixing’

    and defines people by their disability. Like racism and sexism, ableism

    classifies entire groups of people as ‘less than,’ and includes harmful

    stereotypes, misconceptions, and generalizations of people with


    Ableism 101



    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

    The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in

    employment, State and local government, public

    accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and




    Universal Design & Inclusive Infrastructure

    Universal Design is the design and composition of an

    environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to

    the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their

    age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building,

    product, or service in that environment) should be designed to

    meet the needs of all people who wish to use it.


    Human mobility and urban metabolism are two interrelated concepts that are crucial to understanding the functioning of cities.

    Human mobility refers to the movement of people within and between cities and is a critical component of urban life. It encompasses various modes of transportation such as walking, biking, public transportation, and private vehicles, and plays a significant role in shaping the physical, economic, and social structure of cities.

    Urban metabolism, on the other hand, refers to the flow of energy, matter, and information in cities, which is driven by human activities, including mobility. Cities consume large amounts of energy and resources, produce waste, and generate greenhouse gas emissions, which can have significant impacts on the environment and human health.

    Both human mobility and urban metabolism are interconnected and influence each other. For example, transportation infrastructure and policies that support sustainable mobility can reduce energy consumption and emissions, while also improving the quality of life for residents. In turn, urban planning and design can shape patterns of human mobility and affect the urban metabolism.

    Overall, understanding human mobility and urban metabolism is important for promoting sustainable and resilient cities that meet the needs of their residents while also preserving the environment.

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