Back in November, when a fire under the I-10 in Los Angeles caused the shutdown of a portion of the freeway; the YouTube channel Segregation by Design published a video that illustrates the destruction that the Santa Monica Freeway caused in mostly black- and brown- communities. The video is available at the bottom of this post.

With the left side of the screen showing the topography surrounding the future freeway in the 1940’s and the right side showing how the topography changed by 1972; the video follows the path of the freeway from East L.A. all the way to the sea. The freeway was built in the 1960’s.

The changes in 30 years are dramatic. Greenspace after greenspace vanishes. Communities are divided. Housing vanishes, to be replaced by retail and other uses.

While the changes in Santa Monica are startling by themselves, it’s even worse in Boyle Heights. Segregation by Design describes the change,

Seen at the beginning, the 10 cut through Boyle Heights, with the East LA Interchange alone displacing at least 15,000 residents. Home to a large Latino and immigrant population, Boyle Heights was nicknamed the “Ellis Island of the West Coast.” Because of this diversity, planners viewed the neighborhood as a “slum,” using the highways as their tools of clearance. The government’s view of the neighborhood during the era  is made clear in the redlining documents:

The video makers promise more videos are to come on Santa Monica.

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