"Racist" Twin Cities maps make point about interstate highways [IMAGES]

Categories: Racism
mpls1935mapfeat.jpg
:::: UPDATE :::: St. Paul map shows how I-94 cut through heart of city's African-American neighborhood [IMAGES]

The "super racist" Minneapolis map we wrote about last month is actually intended to make a point about America's interstate highway system, Geoff Maas, the cartographer who put it together, tells us.

By overlaying maps created in 1935 by sociologist Dr. Calvin Schmid for a study entitled, "Saga of Two Cities: An Ecological and Statistical Study of Social Trends in Minneapolis and St. Paul," with more recent maps of the interstate highway system, Maas aimed to show how interstates were built to bisect some of Minneapolis and St. Paul's poorest neighborhoods.

See also:
Judgmental Mpls neighborhood map might offend you, will probably make you laugh [IMAGE]

Here's Schmid's original map:

MPLS1935_Original.jpg
All images via Geoff Maas -- click to enlarge

Here's Schmid's map of Minneapolis's "Vice Areas":

MplsViceAreasMap.jpg

And finally, here's Maas's overlay:

MinneapolisMap_1935HighRes.jpg

"Past policies (pre-Civil Rights era) enabled poorer or economically disadvantaged communities to be targeted more easily for large projects like highways," Maas wrote to us in an email. The map is "a way to highlight the wrongs of our past and to ensure that these kinds of public policies and actions do not occur again... [it's] a stern reminder of how our nation used to operate. We sometimes need to see, visualize and fully understand our difficult past in order to move beyond it."

Maas, a mapmaker and urban planner, put together his Minneapolis map for the Harrison Neighborhood Association. He says he volunteered to do the work because he "did not believe that profit should be sought from this project for moral or ethical reasons."

He recently put together the same sort of map for St. Paul, which we'll publish on Blotter tomorrow. (Update -- see the St. Paul version here.)

With regard to Schmid's original map, Maas says, "It wasn't a policy to say, 'We're going to force people to live in this area,' but people with money tend to live near the river and lakes."

See also:
Mpls air pollution affects blacks more than whites, U of M study finds


"People with less money and minorities seem marginalized in areas near railroads and industrial areas," Maas continues during a followup interview. "I laid modern road networks over [Schmid's map] to show that it was kinda a policy to go through the path of least resistance. It was easier to put the highway through minority neighborhoods of 'Working Men's Homes.'"

But Maas says projects like Green Line LRT -- which also cuts through a neighborhood largely populated by lower- and middle-income folks -- are a "different animal" than interstate highways.

"Light rail brings in stops and interesting mixed-use development if it's done right," Maas says. "It brings in a swirl of activity."

We asked Maas what he regards as the biggest takeaway from his work.

(For more, click to page two.)



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36 comments
Andrew Edward Pilimai Tulua
Andrew Edward Pilimai Tulua

Reminds me of the futurist neighborhoods made in the Netherlands with all the roads raised. They were abandoned and filled with immigrants decades after. 94 also cuts a few blocks past Summit Ave in St. Paul. Wealth disparity is much lower in msp than other metro areas and I think our social scientists could spend their time doing better things than stating what we already know. How about we remap district lines or discuss st. Paul's housing policies?

peterjasonmn
peterjasonmn

In order to buy the land to build the freeways, they had to buy the cheapest land possible.


Who HAD the cheapest land?  

Oh yeah, that's racist.

Brandon Helland
Brandon Helland

People that believe this kind of shit are the typical sheeple this country is now made of.

Brandon Helland
Brandon Helland

Omg my diversity 101 course prof at scsu tried to pull this bs the first day of class. I quickly called him out and stated the freeway system *act of 1956 was developed for more efficient travel and possible atomic attack evacuation routes. Or swift military convo routes aka the autobahn. If you want ppl driving down lake street at 70 well then allow that. Bunch of Crack jobs looking for any "racist" thing possible....

lindabrozek
lindabrozek

i'd like to add my children and I  lived at 533 Lyndale Ave no back in the mid 70's those were very solid built decent apartments and then we found out we had to move because of the highway being built. my neighbors tried to protest even to go as far as standing in front of the bulldozers and refusing to move out of our apartments yes we all got what seemed to them decent proposals but it broke apart our community we all knew each other and each others kids ,we had our church right on Bryant we had a courtyard in the middle of our buildings we helped each other out by just crossing over a few feet and helping or being helped, we had will's supermarket very close by on Glenwood. 

We were proud of our very own radio station we had sumner library right up the street and  Harrison school, but the rich got thier way and all that we had was scattered by them we had no choice ,because we had no money ,no value to them.


swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

Certainly the St. Paul Rondo neighborhood is the best local example of what the highways did.  But South Minneapolis is a solid example as well.  The neighborhood 35W blighted was the black middle-class neighborhood.  Just destroyed between Franklin and 46th st., between Portland and Nicollet.  Houses or stores that were a block from each other now as many as 8 blocks away, whole section of neighborhoods nearly uninhabitable except by those who have no choice.

Tim Hanggi
Tim Hanggi

Whoever wrote this article is a complete idiot. I want 5 minutes of my life back. Your all a bunch of race baiters at cp but are actually the biggest racist against white males. If I were you I would go down on Hiawatha and jump in front of the next light rail train cause you are a waste of oxygen.

Jesse Meyer
Jesse Meyer

Any one else wonder about the accuracy of this map? I'd have to double check my research for the exact dates and locations, but I thought census records around that time don't show a lot of African-Americans on the West Bank near 35W.

Zurichfan340328
Zurichfan340328

The racial minorities were the easiest group to displace when the highways were built. Richer white folk make a stink about every public works project, just look at the SW light rail or the Central Corridor law suits. The planers don't need to be directly racist to have a planning policy that chooses the path of least resistance, which means mowing over the parts of town where people of color live. 

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Yeah, no shit.  Racism existed and continues to exist.  Look at Ferguson.   I think society is slowly changing but there will always be people that want to hate just to hate.    

Georgia Lauritzen
Georgia Lauritzen

The natural supply and demand of real estate is driven by location, location, location.

Georgia Lauritzen
Georgia Lauritzen

The most blatant example of planners siting a freeway thru a minority area is I94. Broke up a vibrant and active neighborhood called Rondo.

Joshua Palmer
Joshua Palmer

Highways are not racist, but in many ways they have been used for nefarious/racist purposes in the past. A great example is the Model Cities Program of the 1960s in the town of New Haven, Connecticut. The highways were planned particularly in areas of the city which were inhabited by minorities. Those highways destroyed large swaths of black communities. The highways were also planned as dividers, keeping out certain populations from the city, the new shopping districts, and Yale.

Jonathan Keith Marut
Jonathan Keith Marut

Sure with the original work was linked in this article. The copied images are too small to read the many details.

Joely Macheel
Joely Macheel

The highways are loud, unsafe, and crate pollution. This makes the areas near the highways less attractive to affluent home owners. They move. It's more classist than anything.

Sco Kel
Sco Kel

What waste of read time. Totally fabricated to make his point, which is impossible to do. He completely overlooked the natural supply and demand of real estate.

Denny Sid Scanlon
Denny Sid Scanlon

So now the highways are racist? Maybe they just were built along where the land was cheaper. I lived on the East Side of Saint Paul right along 94. It was built in the 70's. The neighborhood was largely white back then. Reverse racism maybe?

matthew.blandin
matthew.blandin

@peterjasonmn It's not racist that they're buying the cheapest land, but racism is what landed mostly minorities in the cheapest land....

ChazDanger
ChazDanger topcommenter

That's funny, I don't see but more than 1 black male on your friends list.

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann ah, we don't know what happened there yet.  Only you liberals rush to stereotypes and assertions about what happened there. Now go back to your dog Amy Goodman on the War and Peace Report.  She's down there being a Race Merchant too. 

alfranken
alfranken

@MicheleBachmann what an amazing, unique thought and contribution here. Thank you for posting this seriously deep message, and being able to see past those who hate.. just to hate.

peterjasonmn
peterjasonmn

Loud, unsafe, polluted?  So's North Minneapolis.  

peterjasonmn
peterjasonmn

Why give facts when you can drum up imaginary racism?

Zurichfan340328
Zurichfan340328

That's the whole point. The land was cheaper there because darker skinned people called it home. Harming black communities is easy and can be done to serve the greater public purpose of the highway system. Inconveniencing rich white people leads to law suits and protests and NIMBY complaints. 

Onan
Onan

There is no such thing as "reverse racism." It's just "racism", and that may, or may not be true in this case. It seems to be designed along socio-economic factors more than anything.

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@ChazDanger Haha your metrics make you a complete progressive moron.

peterjasonmn
peterjasonmn

Then perhaps people should work harder to ensure their home values are higher. 


You know, it takes a village & all that crap.

ChazDanger
ChazDanger topcommenter

@kurt124  The additional name calling really shows your true colors.  Learn how to use words, then find out what they mean, then put the words into a clean sentence, then repeat until you have a paragraph. 

"Progressive Moron"  Laughable!

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