The degree to which opportunity becomes equal for all will determine either the triumph or the epilogue of the American Dream. The Ten Across transect includes some of the most diverse and enduring contributions to America’s national culture– as well as compelling examples of its greatest failures around race, ethnicity, class and justice.

Monuments to mobility, 20th century freeways were threaded through pre-existing cities and neighborhoods. Intentionally positioned as tools of segregation and division, highway infrastructure in Ten Across cities such as Houston, Los Angeles, and New Orleans etched deep socio-economic scars which are still felt today.

A crusade to defeat the legacy of highways rammed through poor neighborhoods. Washington Post (Ashley Halsey III), Mar. 29, 2016.


People, primarily minority, displaced by 20th century freeway construction in Los Angeles

Source They Moved Mountains (And People) To Build L.A.’s Freeways. Gizmodo (Nathan Masters), Mar. 17, 2014.

The prevalence of poverty along the Ten Across transect is a worrisome bellwether for the rest of the country. High population and economic growth rates mask the fact that, for many, employment is restricted to low-wage service jobs that further widen the economic divide.


Ten Across states’ portion of the 20 US metros with highest ratios of low wage to high wage earners

Source Meet the Low-Wage Workforce. Brookings Institution (Martha Ross and Nicole Bateman), Nov. 2019.

Can a community become environmentally resilient without first addressing the needs of its most vulnerable populations?

The concentration and growth of the petrochemical industry in Louisiana is a commercial success with serious tradeoffs. Communities proximate to these facilities, especially in “Cancer Alley”, have deep, unresolved concerns about exposure to toxins.


Percent decrease in chemical plants nationwide releasing a level of toxic emissions high enough for EPA reporting since 1988

Source Welcome to “Cancer Alley,” Where Toxic Air Is About to Get Worse. ProPublica, Times-Picayune and The Advocate (Tristan Baurick, Lylla Younes and Joan Meiners), Oct. 30, 2019.

San Antonio’s rich multi-cultural heritage has long been undermined by serious racial and economic inequities. Since 2017, the city’s Budget Equity Tool has helped prioritize departmental spending that benefits the communities with the highest need.

Budget Equity Tool. City of San Antonio.


proportion of large metro areas along I-10 ranked in the top 5 of 2014’s most income-segregated in U.S. (San Antonio, Houston)

Source The U.S. Cities With the Highest Levels of Income Segregation. Bloomberg CityLab (Richard Florida), Mar. 18, 2014.

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