Alana Semeuls, How To Decimate A City”

Alana Semeuls (100 views at time of watching)

People Involved

Alana Semeuls Syracuse


  • introduction:
    • “thanks for coming”
    • “this is a fantastic crowd”
    • “thanks Clinton school, Nicoli Depippa”
  • narration
    • “so uh i used to live in Pittsburgh”
      • shares her story about Pittsburgh
    • “perhaps thats why policy makers thought of cities as bodies…with sicknesses…”
    • “1940 40% of people had cars…today 95%” She sounds like she’s reading. And she is. It makes it sounds like she doesn’t know what she’s talking about as much. It’s forced.
  • spoke to Manny Breeland in Syracuse
  • 15th ward is the black neighborhood of Syracuse
    • btwn Syracuse University and Syracuse Downtown
    • poor but people were in the streets, playing.
    • Junie Dunham (another Syracusan)
  • other cities have put an interstate through its center
  • she says multiple times that the highway was literally a road that made it easier for people to leave
  • 1940 -> 2000 : 205,000 -> 147,000 (Syracuse, city). But Onondaga county had a growing population.
  • Joanie Mahoney “county will not subsidize any more sewer construction”
  • city has minimum lot sizes, as well as restrictions on multi-family housing
  • 2/3 of black poor live in “high poverty neighborhoods.”
    • Carrier has left for overseas.
    • wages stagnant, harder to make ends meet than it used to be
  • Ironically, the city has more concentrated poverty now than the 15Th ward did ages ago.

Proof (starts around 11 minutes) - Chicago starts moving the poor to condos in better neighborhoods. So does Baltimore - young professionals and baby boomers want to live somewhere walkable, near bars, offices, etc… - we have an urban renaissance - urban blvd is a proposal in place of I-81 - “coming together rather than tearing apart” - falls flat - derek thomson Conclusion (15 minutes) - “sometimes these barriers are highways.” - “build a new one [highway] or expanding an existing one seems like a surefire way to make a city sick”

Q&A - she asks “anyone else?” making the same mistake I did