nehemiah studio central district policy review

June 5, 2020

Federal Highway Act (1956)

Image of construction of I5 through Seattle's International District

The construction of I-5 in Seattle cut through the International District neighborhood, displacing and separating a portion of the community.WSDOT Photograph Collection, Washington State Archives

The Federal Highway Act of 1956 led to the building of an extensive interstate system across the U.S. and while it was touted as a path to greater mobility for all, the implementation of highways in cities largely led to wide-scale displacement and the devastation of minority and low-income neighborhoods under the guise of urban renewal.
Seattle link: I-5 cut Seattle in half and minority neighborhoods like the International District bore the brunt of the destruction.

Reference: Semuels, Alana. “The Role of Highways in American Poverty.” The Atlantic, March 18, 2016.