Lemir Teron


The siting and development of Interstate 81 in Syracuse, New York, similar

to highway projects across the nation, lead to the displacement of Black


and has exposed thousands of remaining residents at heightened

environmental harm. As the interstate is slated to be redeveloped due to age

and safety issues, national attention has focused on the highway as a potential

exemplar for similar projects across the United States. Federal law mandates

that environmental impact analysis be conducted, and due to the prevalence

of marginalized populations, environmental justice impacts are a

critical feature in this assessment. This article evaluates both the redevelopment

of the interstate through an assessment of a 10,000+ page draft environmental

impact statement, review of relevant policy documents and attendance

at public meetings to assess the potential for environmentally

sustainability and just outcomes. It concludes that, along with similar redevelopment

projects from online due to the nation’s aging infrastructure, environmental

analysis and planning must employ restorative justice frameworks

to strengthen and heal communities impacted from the legacy of racist

urban planning.