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monsoon

When Urban Decisions Go Very Wrong

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Many of you may not be familiar with the environmental disaster known as The Love Canal that had it's roots in the 1890s, but played out about 25 years ago in the early 1980s. The article posted below is a fairly good write up of how this disaster destroyed an entire community and had ramifications on people's health that still persist today.

"William T. Love came to 1890s Niagara Falls, New York, with hugely ambitious plans. The landowner and entrepreneur envisioned the creation of an enormous utopian metropolis. His city would be home to enviable industry, and housing for more than a million people. Thousands of acres would become "the most extensive and beautiful [park] in the world".

.......

"By the 1970s, the Love Canal became the site of one of the worst environmental disasters in American history."

The Tragedy of the Love Canal

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Love Canal was a terrible tragedy brought about by "unconcerned" attitudes of the early 20th century. Back then, we didn't care about what we did to the land and had very little regulation on what we did on it. While now we do have numerous regulations to try to prevent this, unscrupulous companies/municipalities and still sow the seeds for future disasters.

While nowhere near as severe as Love Canal, there is a commercial district in my city which was built on top of an old city landfill. Due to build-up of methane gasses due to decomposition there were multiple explosions in the development. There also was problem with the buildings settling unevenly to the point where it appears the buildings are sinking.

Hopefully we can avoid these types of mistakes in the future.

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This was the topic for a few weeks in my Environmental Planning class when I was in school. I think its becoming a standard case study nowadays.

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Thanks for the link. Very interesting read. One line I cannot get over is the "children in the schoolyard were burned by toxic waste." Man, that's sick.

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