Marginalizing Poverty with Car-Dependent Design: The Story of Two Expulsions


  • Tristan Cleveland Temple University Press



In the twentieth century in Nova Scotia, at least two racialized communities were forcibly expelled from their land: Black Africville residents in Halifax and the Membertou Mi’kmaw First Nation in Sydney. Differences in the long-term outcomes of the two expulsions, however, reveal critical factors in how urban design can support or frustrate poverty alleviation. While the Membertou First Nation was relocated as a whole to a centralized context where they were geographically positioned to stage an economic transformation, Africville residents were more widely dispersed, many to areas with less access to jobs and other economic opportunities.

This article analyzes the urban design elements in Halifax that create barriers to prosperity for the city’s historically Black communities and low-income residents. These factors include housing displacement, the suburbanization of poverty, and a lack of access to transit and other destinations within walking distance of homes. This article proposes three policy options to address these barriers and ensure that the city offers opportunity to all residents.