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Incorporating Urban Highways into Communities

Background Information

The development of highway construction is necessary for social and economic growth. Nevertheless, the development of the highway system leads to a huge segmentation of urban fabric and the regional community. The current research investigates a creative exploration of how to retrofit an existing highway into a meaningful ecological highway. The focus of this project is to mitigate the potential negative impact, mainly analyzing Lawrence Halprin’s design, and Freeway Parkland's theory for reference purposes (Komara 53).


Healthy urban highway ecology allows the integration of urban community thereby maintaining a peaceful co-existence of city dwellers. A hyper-segmentation of a city by the highways creates urban sub-communities, and it highly encourages the development of social vices. Such social vices that develop as a result of poorly designed urban highway sections include murders, robbery, and organized crimes. It can also increase security threats because of heightened sub-communities animosity.

On the contrary, the employment of sound urban highways design provides the city with a great opportunity for economic development and high levels of social integration where peace and security are upheld. The quality of living of city dwellers in places with sound and healthy urban highway ecologies is high because they can access important facilities for recreation and shopping purposes with ease.

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Statement of the Problem

The problem is that the urban highway divides regional communities and break up a city into many separate parts. The creation of urban sub-communities reduces the levels of integration among city dwellers hence it can threaten the national efforts towards peace, co-existence, security and economic stability. A segmented city, on the other hand, can limit city dwellers’ access to important facilities such as for recreation, shopping and health purposes reducing the quality of living among a city populace.


The integration of town freeways into urban populations will build a vigorous highway ecosystem by providing vital entrance points to important amenities in addition to encouraging the integration of the urban-dwelling community. In addition, the study of Lawrence Halprin’s concepts and case studies of his effort will help to build on the first choices of the public to develop evocative urban amenities for all members of metropolitan communities. Ultimately, there will be the incorporation of city communities in urban freeway formation. Similarly, the employment of different works of Halprin will aid engineers to build parks and link people across freeways.


Healthy urban highway ecology is a significant perspective promoting community integration, peace, economic development and the quality of living among city-dwelling communities. A study of the most appropriate approaches to the incorporation of urban highways into communities can help urban planners, designers and departments to choose the most effective methods of application. The study can also help designers to create parks that can effectively connect urban populations across freeways thus increasing the levels of integration among them. This study can also help designers and planners generate important technical ideas, develop them and finally, utilize them to solve the existing problems of unhealthy urban highways.

Research Questions

  1. How can urban planners, designers, and departments incorporate urban highways into communities to create healthy highway ecologies?
  2. How can designers create parks and connect people across freeways and boost the level of urban community integration?
  3. How can the idea of incorporating urban highways into communities be technically developed?

Objectives of the Research Project

The general objective guiding this project is to incorporate urban highways into communities in order to create healthy urban highway ecology. The research project also aims to help designers to create parks in order to connect people across freeways and promote the integration of the urban-dwelling community. Additionally, this study aims to create a strategy of technical development of ideas that would help incorporate urban highways into communities to create healthy highway ecologies.

Literature Review

Incorporation of the Urban Highways into Communities

Most nations depend more heavily on cities than up-countries for economic development because more numerous and stable economic activities can be found in urban centers. Cities, therefore, produce more wealth than rural areas (Polese 3). The economic potential of most cities has not yet been realized because of the inadequacies of healthy planning and designs. Plans and designs that would incorporate urban highways into urban communities would result in a concerted benefit to cities in terms of economic and social stability (Polese 8).

Upgrading the City Freeways

A reserve by Lawrence Halprin et al. applauds 15 stratagems that would aid to advance urban freeways (Komara 87). Those recommended guidelines focus on the application of research and new techniques to help locate, plan and design urban highways. The book also recommends the development of a system to incorporate specialists in different fields in the planning team across all levels of a country’s governance in order to help align urban highway plans with the interests of the public in addition to those of the state (Washburn 65).

Additional endorsements specified in this book that would support the absorption of the community into the town freeways comprise the advancement of the plans to alleviate any difficulties related to the acquirement of the land for freeway expansion and urban freeway environmental supervision. It also endorses the proper learning of a city freeway design, planning, and a combination of town transportation systems. The recommendations outlined by the book can help urban highway planners and designers generate ideas and subsequently build on them in order to include local communities in various activities along urban highways (Washburn 69).

Boosting the Community Activity in the Urban Highways

According to the Congress for the New Urbanism in collaboration with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA 56), lack of the appropriate plans and designs can result in failure of the retail trade at the community level (Salkind 35). The report says that sound design practices cannot only help the problem of scarcity of shopping centers along highways but it can also help revitalize the economic might of cities and increase tax gains from the retail trade. The report recommends about five mall development models that would help incorporate urban transport systems into communities (Salkind 35).

All the five recommended plans aim at increasing community access to various facilities and services including, entertainment, education, religion, trade, and other essential services. The recommended services would help to increase community activities in urban highways hence creating potentials for economic and social integration to the beneficence of local populations plus the whole nation.



Open interviews will be designed to survey the views of the members of the urban community, urban authorities and specialists of urban design and planning. The urban community interviews will target answers that are indicative of the levels of popularity and preference of such facilities as parks, walkways, educational centers and shopping malls in order to analyze the need for the development of those facilities. The urban authority surveys will aim at establishing their capacities of allowing the development of the urban community’s most popular and preferable facilities. Urban authorities hold a fundamental key to the development of any public facility within their jurisdictions. Urban studies specialists’ interviews, on the other hand, will help this research project to analyze the possibility of building on the ideas generated by the urban community (Salkind 36).

A Case Study of the Freeway Park in Seattle

The analysis of Freeway Park in Seattle will help to create an understanding of the urban ecosystem for the purposes of this research project. This park was opened for public use in July 1976. The original developers of this park did not pay enough attention to the community interest. As a result, the maximum potential of this park was not realized as fast. Nevertheless, the park has been developed to its current status through a series of different actions by the public, Seattle urban authorities and urban planning and design practitioners (Dooling, Simon, and Yocom 18).

The historical analysis of the Freeway Park in Seattle shows that the current status of the park developed as a consequence of the shift of the planning practices, the improvement of the community participation in planning and the use of sound decisions regarding the park planning. As a consequence, the Freeway Park in Seattle allowed further advancement of the political, cultural and economic perspectives of the Seattle community; something that this project seeks to promote. The contemporary plans of the parks in Seattle are based on flexible terms, which are also adaptive in order to withstand future uncertainties in fiscal, cultural and political environments (Dooling, Simon, and Yocom 22).

Analysis of the Applicability of Lawrence Halparin’s Theory

Lawrence Halprin was involved in the design of some parks in the U.S. Three of the parks which utilized his design and architectural theories and had withstood the numerous historical events include the Heritage Park, the Skyline Park, and the Seattle Freeway Park. Analysis of the works of Lawrence Halprin will help the urban designers to build on and develop the ideas generated by the community members on the basis of Halperin's success. Such ideas that Halprin theories will provide include the design and the development of public facilities, their programming, and maintenance. The analysis of these theories will also help the urban authorities and the planners

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Case Study of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway

This highway has a rich store of facts and ideas that will help this project meet its objectives. The construction of this highway involved both public and government participation from idea generation and development to funding and maintenance. The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway project managed to overcome the challenges of space to develop highway connections to Queens and Brooklyn from the East River crossing its analysis hence is highly relevant to the highway projects in the modern world (Bernard). The analysis of the community-urban planning relationship in the history of BQE will help this research project to develop sound recommendations towards the development of healthy highway ecology (Gaur and Gaur 3).

Additionally, the analysis of the funding options that were employed during the development of the BQE project will help this project to express the most convenient highway ecology funding. Similarly, the analysis of the BQE designs will help this project to outline the most workable ideas for urban designers and planners.

Data Analysis

The resultant data will be analyzed using both the computer tools and manual computational methods. The data analysis computer tools of importance in this project include SPSS and MS Excel, which will be used to generate means, correlations and other statistical parameters (Gaur and Gaur 5). The case studies, contrariwise, will be analyzed via logical arguments. The resultant information will be presented using MS PowerPoint while the reference information will be stored in soft and hard copies.

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