Beneath I-280: Excavating the Neighborhoods Lost to San José Freeways

For those who drive regularly atop Interstate 280, Highway 87, and the other major freeways of San José, California, it can be hard to imagine a city where infrastructural behemoths don’t exist. Many lives are shaped around the lengths and curves of the highways which permits travelers to move smoothly from home to work and back again, to see loved ones, to spend time in nature, and much else. But for many people, the freeway is a reminder of what no longer exists; a monument to their own displacement. In the 1960s and early 1970s, thousands of longtime San José homeowners and tenants, especially low-income communities of color, were displaced as the State of California purchased whole neighborhoods to demolish and build I-280, I-680, and CA-87. This study excavates these neighborhoods, which now exist only in memory. By indexing, mapping, and telling stories about these places based on a collection of CalTrans documents containing the value assessments done for each property, the study team is developing resources necessary to more fully comprehend the human and environmental impact of this major development project. The archives are rich in detail about property valuation, property sale data, and condition of the property, yet sorely lacking in qualitative information about the lives of those who inhabited these homes, about the character of the neighborhoods that were disrupted, or about where anyone went after losing their home (many of the residents were tenants and received no compensation for their displacement). This project works to transform the archival materials - including some of the only photographs and other records of the individual properties destroyed by the freeway development - into a more publicly accessible resource through interactive maps and storytelling. The project marks a start of what will hopefully be increased interest in and storytelling about the cascading impact of displacement caused by major public works on low-income communities of color in San José.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility

      San Jose State University
      San Jose, CA  United States  95112

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Start Date: 20221201
    • Expected Completion Date: 20230831
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01889271
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Jul 28 2023 10:01AM