The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

GC Events

2/11 – The History and Future Of NYC Highways

Since the days of Robert Moses, communities throughout New York City have navigated a legacy of highways that divided neighborhoods from one another and complicated access to other parts of the city. For decades, these same communities have advocated for plans that could reverse this legacy, helping restitch geographies and repair social cohesion. Today, the debates about highway infrastructure have expanded to confront the reality that much of this infrastructure is in need of critical updates to extend its useful life and prepare for the future of mobility.

In light of speculation and proposals on the BQE and Sheridan Expressway, New York City is in a race against time when it comes to dealing with the fate and future of its highway system. Practical questions of engineering standards, project delivery, freight transportation demands, congestion, community development and environmental impact all converge when considering what the highways of the future will look like. As new projects arise and old projects are overhauled, what does this mean for planning, innovative design thinking, and policy reform? Does the retrofit of the Westside Highway/Route 9A provide an ideal template for adapting to an evolving future? Will we recognize the opportunities to address community sustainability and transportation evolution?

Join us for a critical discussion on the history and future of highways in New York City, part of Open House New York’s year-long series of tours, conversations, and debates about the future of transportation and mobility in the City.

Owen Gutfreund, Associate Professor, Hunter College; Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape
Olga Gorbunova, Principal, Stantec
Adam Lubinsky, PhD, AICP, Managing Principal WXY
Moderated by Amy Plitt, Editor, Curbed NY.

Presented with The Office of Academic Innovation and Strategic Initiatives at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Click here to make reservations. OHNY Members + CUNY Affiliates: $5 General Admission: $15


  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020
  • 6:30 PM  8:00 PM
  • Elebash Recital Hall