We've posted before about how modern cities are designed for automobiles, which is not necessarily a good thing. But what are you going to do about it? Believe it or not, there are cities who have taken the step of ripping out highways to reduce traffic and bring city life back to people. That doesn't mean those areas are free of streets, but without multi-lane highways, commuters take longer routes around where they once went straight through the neighborhoods. And the results are looking good.
One of the most transformative freeway removal projects not only tore out a dirty highway from a city center, it actually daylighted a lost waterway. An elevated highway had been built through Seoul in 1976 as a way to boost economic prospects in a low-lying area which had become a slum. In 2003, the city’s mayor proposed to remove the freeway and and turn the site into green space, which also required naturalizing the creek that once ran there.
Not only has the greenway become a well-loved part of the city, it has proven to benefit the city in many different ways. The temperature of the inner city has dropped several degrees, and birds, fish and other wildlife have returned to the urban core. Also, since the freeways were removed, fewer people are driving into the city, choosing to take public transit or other options. They even left a few freeway pillars as reminders of what came before.