Urban Renewal Under Fire

August 21, 1963

Report Outline
Controversy Over Urban Redevelopment
Problem of Relocating Slum Dwellers
Proposals for Changes in Urban Renewal

Controversy Over Urban Redevelopment

Rising Criticism of Urban Renewal Programs

Established concepts of urban renewal are now being attacked by some of the program's long-time supporters as well as by its foes. Disillusionment has set in because more than a decade of federally supported redevelopment in major cities has failed to make the headway expected against urban blight and the social problems that blight creates and renewal is intended to relieve. Wholesale clearance of slum areas and pillar-to-post relocation of the families who lived there have generated wide discontent. Members of racial and ethnic minorities who have seen the slum buildings they occupied replaced by luxury apartment houses have grown resentful of city planning that rarely seems to make adequate provision for their needs. James Baldwin, Negro author, recently put the feeling in one short sentence: “Urban renewal means Negro removal.”

Politicians have been quick to sense the change of attitude. Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, re-elected for a third term by a reduced majority on April 2, announced that that city would abandon urban redevelopment projects involving extensive tearing down and rebuilding. Instead, he said, Chicago would direct its efforts to conservation and rehabilitation of existing structures, resorting only to spot demolition where necessary. The mayor also dropped the term “urban renewal” in favor of “community improvement.”

A New York State commission has started an investigation of public housing. Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller's top housing adviser cautioned recently that needs of city families displaced by demolition or still occupying substandard dwellings were not being met under present plans for urban renewal in New York City. James W. Gaynor, commissioner of the state's Division of Housing and Community Renewal, said on May 13 that voter resistance to increased housing expenditures made it necessary to seek new ideas and methods. The Los Angeles city council put off a decision last spring to recertify that city's urban renewal program, leaving Los Angeles temporarily ineligible for certain federal redevelopment funds and halting several projects already under way.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Urban Planning
Jul. 27, 2012  Smart Cities
Apr. 09, 2010  Earthquake Threat
Apr. 2009  Rapid Urbanization
Jun. 23, 2006  Downtown Renaissance Updated
May 28, 2004  Smart Growth
Oct. 03, 1997  Urban Sprawl in the West
Mar. 21, 1997  Civic Renewal
Oct. 13, 1995  Revitalizing the Cities
Jun. 09, 1989  Not in My Back Yard!
Apr. 28, 1989  Do Enterprise Zones Work?
Nov. 22, 1985  Supercities: Problems of Urban Growth
Jul. 23, 1982  Reagan and the Cities
Nov. 18, 1977  Saving America's Cities
Oct. 31, 1975  Neighborhood Control
Nov. 21, 1973  Future of the City
Feb. 07, 1973  Restrictions on Urban Growth
May 20, 1970  Urbanization of the Earth
Nov. 06, 1968  New Towns
Oct. 04, 1967  Private Enterprise in City Rebuilding
Feb. 10, 1965  Megalopolis: Promise and Problems
Mar. 04, 1964  City Beautiful
Aug. 21, 1963  Urban Renewal Under Fire
Jan. 21, 1959  Metropolitan Areas and the Federal Government
Jul. 30, 1958  Persistence of Slums
Dec. 09, 1953  Outspreading Cities
Nov. 22, 1952  Slum Clearance: 1932–1952
Jan. 14, 1937  Zoning of Urban and Rural Areas
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Low Income and Public Housing
Regional Planning and Urbanization
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