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Exploring the Relationship Between Transportation Infrastructure and Urban Change
In this assignment, you will explore how the addition of highways to downtown districts of American cities affected major land uses.
To get started, familiarize yourself with the 60 Years of Urban Change website. By manipulating the slider, you can clearly see each city before and after the highway construction era. Take the time to browse through several cities, paying special attention to the changes that took place; e.g. residential neighborhoods / other structures that were demolished, streets that were closed, street patterns that were modified, and land uses that changed. Note that there are links at the top (just under the title) of the webpage that allow you to select the region of the country that you would like to browse.
For the assignment, you will select two cities from two different regions (the website is organized by region: West, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, and Oklahoma/Texas) but not from within New York State. You will compose an essay of 700 to 800 words (but no more than 800 words) in which you compare land use change in the two cities focusing in equal measure on the following three points.
(1) For your two chosen cities (San Antonio, TX and Los Angeles, CA), compare various dimensions of land use change (building density, building/development footprint, waterfront access, waterfront development, highway development, extent of green space, proximity of highways to other land uses, etc.).
(2) Given the material in this and previous learning modules, speculate, for your two cities, how the addition of highways (a) supported or discouraged land use change, and (b) improved or reduced access by four key travel modes: walk, bicycle, public transit, driving.
(3) Consider how the land use changes you detect could have affected (then and now) the people who live in, work in, or visit the selected cities. Discuss the social and economic effects of a new highway cut through a neighborhood, and reflect on the impacts on population displacement, access to jobs, neighborhood- and city-level mobility, economic development, property values, etc.
Your essay should include:
– An original title.
– At least two aerial images (uniquely created by you) from the 60 Years of Urban Change website illustrating points that support important arguments in your essay. (You can create images by executing a screen shot and then cropping the image to the size of the aerial photo.) You may find it useful to seek out additional ground-level photos (historical or current) of the areas you select in order to further illustrate your points (if such images are used, their source should be properly referenced).
– Subsections separated by subheadings should be used to help your reader navigate through your paper.
– Note that it is not necessary to refer to literature in this essay; you are, however, welcome to cite literature that supports arguments made in your essay, and if you do so you should provide a bibliography and use proper in-text referencing according to APA guidelines. (APA guidelines are provided in the course materials.)
To receive full credit, assignments must meet all of the criteria above. Assignments that do not meet writing expectations set forth in the syllabus are not eligible for credit.
***PLEASE LOOK AT EXAMPLES FOR GUIDANCE****

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