Akron Ohio is turning a freeway into a forest

Ohio Akron Highway Closure MapThe city of Akron Ohio, is the latest to reclaim its vehicular infrastructure for its citizens, and it’s doing it in a revolutionary way: For three months next summer, a decommissioned freeway will be transformed into a 35-acre park filled with trees.

The Innerbelt National Forest is the idea of Hunter Franks, a San Francisco-based artist who has been working in the Akron community since 2015. He plans to populate the freeway with potted plants, public seating, and programming meant to reconnect the two communities severed by the freeway 40 years ago. The project just received a Knight Cities Challenge grant, which is giving $15 million to projects in 26 American cities.

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