The view from the corner of 23rd Street and 14th Avenue North is actually quite lovely. That is, as long as you keep your gaze fixed in the direction of the downtown skyline and don’t look at the area immediately around you.
This part of Birmingham sits atop a small bluff, providing a nice panoramic view of the downtown buildings barely a mile to the south and the ridge of Red Mountain off in the distance. But turn around and you are greeted with the sight of a dilapidated abandoned house.
It is difficult to bridge economic and social gaps when there is an actual bridge standing in the way. That is the situation Birmingham has been facing for nearly a half-century, ever since Interstate 20/59 was completed near the northern edge of downtown, creating a concrete-and-steel barrier between the central business district, the Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex and the nearby neighborhoods of Druid Hills, Fountain Heights, and Norwood.