The Implications of Freeway Siting in California: An Equity, Geospatial, and Case Study Approach

Conducted in parallel between researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), this multidisciplinary project will examine four consequences of freeway construction on minority neighborhoods: 1) direct disruption, including disinvestment and loss of housing, local businesses, and local institutions, 2) increasing segregation, such as facilitating suburban white flight and hardening of racial boundaries, 3) diminished access to job or education opportunities because of spatial mismatch , and 4) health impacts because of increasing mobile sources of pollution. Freeway siting continues to have profound health, employment, educational, and social consequences decades later, so uncovering its history is vital to addressing one of the state’s most significant spatial inequities.

The research consists of two major parts: 1) a macro review of the unequal spatial-temporal patterns created by freeways, using quantitative geospatial analysis of historical data, and 2) a micro look in the form of intense case studies, using archival research and interviews with a diverse set of stakeholders, to provide more detail about the present and long-term effects of freeway siting.