Urban Redevelopment

views updated Jun 08 2018


URBAN REDEVELOPMENT. Nineteenth-century slum housing in the United States consisted of buildings with warrens of tiny, poorly ventilated rooms that resulted in a high incidence of infant mortality and infectious diseases among the European immigrant population. Reform movements began in 1901, with the New York State Tenement House Law and continued in the 1930s with zoning ordinances (intended to separate residential areas from the health-endangering waste products of industrial activities) and federal loans to build housing for workers who had fallen on hard times during the Great Depression.

During the 1940s and 1950s, as immigrants prospered and moved out of the tenements, much increasingly decrepit housing stock was still in place in Northeastern and Midwestern cities, which had become destinations for southern blacks seeking better-paid factory employment. Rampant housing discrimination created racially segregated neighborhoods. Lacking an adequate tax base and political clout, these areas and populations lagged in the quality of schools, roads, police protection, and other city services. Nevertheless, even segregated neighborhoods of this period generally included solidly middle-class residents and thriving businesses.

After World War II, urban planners (then largely concerned with accommodating the increasing presence of automobiles) and social reformers (focused on providing adequate affordable housing) joined forces in what proved to be an awkward alliance. The major period of urban renovation in the United States began with Title I of the 1949 Housing Act: the Urban Renewal Program, which provided for wholesale demolition of slums and the construction of some eight-hundred thousand housing units throughout the nation. The program's goals included eliminating substandard housing, constructing adequate housing, reducing de facto segregation, and revitalizing city economies. Participating local governments received federal subsidies totaling about $13 billion and were required to supply matching funds.

Bad News for the Inner City

Sites were acquired through eminent domain, the right of the government to take over privately owned real estate for public purposes, in exchange for "just compensation." After the land was cleared, local governments sold it to private real estate developers at below-market prices. Developers, however, had no incentives to supply housing for the poor. In return for the subsidy and certain tax abatements, they built commercial projects and housing for the upper-middle class. Title III of the Housing Act of 1954 promoted the building of civic centers, office buildings, and hotels on the cleared land. Land that remained vacant because it was too close for comfort to remaining slum areas often became municipal parking lots.

Interstate highways funded by the Highway Act of 1956 not only hastened "white flight" (the departure of middle-class white residents to new suburban housing developments) but also physically divided cities. Little thought was given to the results of leveling inner-city neighborhoods to build the new interstates: the destruction of neighborhoods and displacement of low-income residents.

More than two thousand construction projects on one thousand square miles of urban land were undertaken between 1949 and 1973, when the urban renewal program officially ended. Roughly six hundred thousand housing units were demolished, compelling some two million inhabitants to move. Thousands of small businesses were forced to close. In New York City, more than one hundred thousand African Americans were uprooted, destroying the social and economic fabric of many neighborhoods.

The original legislation had stipulated that for each new unit of housing built, at least one old unit of housing was to be torn down. Yet only 0.5 percent of all federal expenditures for urban renewal between 1949 and 1964 was spent on family relocation. A 1961 study of renewal projects in forty-one cities found that 60 percent of the tenants (even more in large cities) were merely relocated to other slums, exacerbating the problem of overcrowding. Slum evacuees who found better housing often had to pay higher rents.

After 1960, federally subsidized loans increasingly underwrote the rehabilitation, rather than wholesale demolition, of blighted neighborhoods. In 1964 Congress passed legislation to assist relocated persons who could not afford their new rents. Still, despite the good intentions that prompted urban renewal, most observers now agree that the process was deeply flawed.

The Public Housing Debacle

The public housing built in the 1950s—ironically, based on the utopian architecture of European modernist Charles-É douard Jeanneret Le Corbusier—was designed to squeeze as many families as possible onto expensive urban real estate. Slab-like high-rise complexes, poorly planned and constructed, housed as many as twelve thousand people (in the notorious Pruitt-Igoe project in St. Louis, Missouri). Known by residents as "the projects," these buildings were increasingly plagued by vandalism, drug use, rape, assault, robbery, and murder.

A 1969 law that abolished minimum rents and stipulated that no family would have to pay more than 25 percent of its income to rent an apartment in public housing lacked federal subsidies to make up for the lost revenue. While public housing authorities went bankrupt, the projects increasingly filled with people who had no income at all. The 1981 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act created priority categories for public housing that insured only the "truly needy" were served while ignoring poor working families who had spent years on waiting lists.

Literally and figuratively walled off from the rest of the city, the projects became islands of despair and dereliction.

Allied to the failures of urban development as a means of alleviating housing shortages was and is owner abandonment of rental apartment housing; they stop making repairs and paying taxes, and accumulate so many building violations that legal occupation is no longer permitted. Destroyed by vandalism or arson, these buildings become city property, to be torn down or rehabilitated at public expense. Other apartment buildings are "warehoused," awaiting gentrification of the neighborhood, when they may be rehabilitated and sold at a profit.

Urban Redevelopment after 1973

New thinking about the nature and function of American cities has led to public-private partnerships that frequently succeed in modest, yet measurable, ways where large-scale methods have failed. The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 emphasized rehabilitation, preservation, and gradual change rather than demolition and displacement. Under the Community Development Block Grant program, local agencies bear most of the responsibility for revitalizing decayed neighborhoods. Successful programs include urban homesteading, whereby properties seized by the city for unpaid taxes are given to new owners who promise to bring them "up to code" within a given period—either by "sweat equity" (doing the work themselves) or by employing contractors—in return for free title to the property. Under the Community Reinvestment Act, lenders make low-interest loans to help the neighborhood revitalization process.

The federal Empowerment Zone program, initiated in 1994 in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Philadelphia-Camden, with two "supplementary" awards to Los Angeles and Cleveland, gave each city $100 million plus a package of tax benefits to encourage economic development in blighted areas. Provisions include tax-exempt bond financing for business expansion and tax credits for investments in distressed areas. More cities were added to the program in 1998 and 2001.

Two basic design directions have prevailed in urban redevelopment: creating new pedestrian zones and reclaiming underused or deteriorating areas of a city by blending them into a city's historic fabric. Widening sidewalks, permitting mixed-use zoning (mingling residential and business uses), planting trees, adding lighting, and establishing a pleasing variety of building facades promote economic vitality by encouraging people to spend time downtown.

Several theories about the overall failure of city planning are currently in vogue. An argument for greater involvement of local residents—as a counterweight to the dictates of distant professional planners—is often coupled with the need to empower poor and minority groups to lobby for changes that will benefit them. Another view emphasizes the significance of global forces, including foreign investment in U.S. cities and overseas labor costs, as well as other factors (such as interest rate fluctuations and energy prices), over which city planners, investors, and local politicians have no control.

Today, major league stadiums, hotel-convention centers, and entertainment districts, which cater largely to middle-class nonresidents, are believed to be prime components of a successful urban center. Yet studies have shown that these increasingly larger and more costly projects—often built despite lack of voter approval and costing more in job-creation funds than other economic development programs—rarely pay for themselves. These sleek edifices contrast with the all-too-common scenario, particularly in poorer urban centers, of severe cutbacks in essential city services. Ultimately, it is hard to disagree with urban historian Witold Rybczynski that "neighborhoods are the lifeblood of any city." By preserving neighborhoods, a city proclaims that it is a place where people want to be.


Anderson, Martin. The Federal Bulldozer: A Critical Analysis of Urban Renewal: 1949–1962. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1964.

Friedan, Bernard J., and Lynne B. Sagalyn. Downtown, Inc.: How America Rebuilds Cities. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989.

Hall, Peter. Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988.

Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House, 1961.

Judd, Dennis R., and Paul Kantor, eds. The Politics of Urban America: A Reader. New York: Longman, 2001.

Kemp, Roger L., ed. The Inner City: A Handbook for Renewal. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2001.

Mumford, Lewis. The City in History: Its Origins and Transformations and Its Prospects. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1961.

O'Connor, Thomas. Building a New Boston: Politics and Urban Renewal 1950–1970,Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993.

Teaford, Jon C. The Rough Road to Renaissance: Urban Revitalization in America 1940–1985. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

Whyte, William H. City: Rediscovering the Center. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Wilson, James Q., ed. Urban Renewal: The Record and the Controversy. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1966.

Wright, Gwendolyn. Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America. New York: Pantheon, 1981.


See alsoHousing ; Housing and Urban Development .

Case Study: The Hill District

A well-to-do neighborhood in the nineteenth century, the Hill District bordering downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, gained a different population after 1870, as the new trolley service allowed the gentry to move away from downtown. The new residents were European immigrants and African Americans from the South seeking factory jobs in an area said to be a haven from segregation laws. During the 1930s and 1940s the Hill District was home to nightclubs featuring top jazz performers. Even in the 1950s, it was a vibrant community with shops, theaters, churches, and social organizations.

As early as 1943, however, a member of the Pittsburgh City Council noted that "approximately 90 percent of the buildings" in the Hill District were "substandard." He urged that these aging stores and residences be destroyed. In 1955, the U.S. government provided the Lower Hill Redevelopment plan with $17.4 million in loans and grants. More than eight thousand residents, overwhelmingly African American, were displaced when thirteen hundred buildings were demolished to make way for what was to be a twenty-nine-acre cultural district anchored by the eighteen-thousand-seat Civic Arena (now Mellon Arena, a hockey rink). After the arena was built, however, the cultural district plan was abandoned.

Former residents received little compensation and minimal benefits from the federal government. Many moved across the Allegheny River to the city's North Side, where, in turn, more than five hundred buildings were razed to make room for a shopping mall, office tower, and private housing complex. Elsewhere in the city, new highways and the Three Rivers Stadium displaced even more low-income residents.

Efforts to build new housing in the Hill District lagged until the early 1990s, when community groups worked with a commercial developer to initiate a $40 million, five hundred-unit residential project on a nearby site, with some government-subsidized units for low-income residents. But the land cleared in the 1950s remained largely unused. By 2002, it had become one of the city's most valuable parcels of undeveloped real estate, prompting the local hockey team—which wants to build a new arena—to propose a $500-million office, retail, and housing development.

The district's city council representative, Sala Udin, was a ten-year-old when his family was uprooted in the 1950s. He supports the plan, but only if the arena (viewed by some as worthy of preservation) is razed, allowing the city grid to be adjusted to reconnect the district's streets to downtown Pittsburgh and to create what he calls "a healthy, organic neighborhood."

Case Study: The Lower Garden District

Built in the early nineteenth century around a spacious park, the once-affluent Lower Garden District in New Orleans, Louisiana, began its long decline after the Civil War. In the 1970s, the crumbling old homes found new buyers, activists who fought to stop a proposed bridge over the Mississippi River that would have split the district in half and cut off access to the park. A decade later, however, many homes were abandoned and storefronts on the main commercial thoroughfare, Magazine Street, were nearly all vacant.

In 1988, the Preservation Resource Center, a local advocacy organization, launched Operation Comeback, a nonprofit program to help potential homebuyers purchase and rehabilitate vacated buildings in seven New Orleans neighborhoods. Owners pay the monthly interest on the loan, carried by Operation Comeback, and contribute their own labor. Architects donate their expertise, and contractors are paid in stages by Operation Comeback through a bank line of credit. When the renovations are finished, the owners buy their homes for the fair market value purchase price plus taxes, fees, and the cost of repairs.

In 1992, working with a $220,000 budget and two-person staff, Operation Comeback had rescued, or helped others to rescue, one hundred houses. Magazine Street bloomed again with restaurants, shops, and small businesses. Another Preservation Resource Center program, Christmas in October, organizes teams of volunteers to repair rundown homes occupied by poor, elderly, and disabled residents as well as blighted community buildings.

As an outgrowth of these middle-class renovation efforts, a combination of private money and government matching grants—under a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program to rid the United States of the one hundred thousand worst public housing units—revived the blighted fifteen-hundred-unit St. Thomas Public Housing complex, built in New Orleans in 1939 for the working poor. Begun in 1999, the multimillion-dollar project consists of tearing down older sections of the complex and replacing them with public housing designed to blend in with traditional neighborhood residences. Both symbolically and practically, these efforts help to create more cohesive neighborhoods, the building blocks of livable cities.

Urban Renewal

views updated May 29 2018

Urban Renewal


Urban renewal is a cooperative effort by public officials and private interests to improve a citys structural, economic, and social quality. Major American cities were economically and socially devastated by the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression of the 1930s. Most cities had narrow tax bases that relied excessively on property tax revenues, which sharply declined because of widespread business failures and mortgage foreclosures. High rates of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness overwhelmed scarce local resources and contributed to a decline in essential local services, such as public schools and police protection.

The urban-centered New Deal programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (served 19331945) addressed the immediate economic crisis of American cities instead of their long-term improvement. In particular, New Deal programs such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Public Works Administration (PWA) used public-works jobs to reduce unemployment, stimulate local economies, and subsidize state and local relief for the unemployable poor. The Social Security Act of 1935 included unemployment insurance and Aid to Dependent Children (ADC). Nonetheless, these New Deal programs did cause some major long-term changes in the structure and design of major cities, such as the construction of the Triborough Bridge in New York City and a new city hall for Houston, Texas.

The Housing Act of 1934 created the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and the U.S. Housing Authority was established in 1937. These federal agencies eventually became the major bureaucratic components of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), created in 1965. Influenced by the perspectives of local banking, real estate, and construction interests, the FHA encouraged and solidified the practice of redlining, in which poor African Americans and Latinos were segregated in federally subsidized public housing projects and experienced discrimination in the sale and rental of private housing in white neighborhoods.

During World War II (19381945), major cities experienced severe housing shortages and strains on local public services and infrastructure. There was a sharp increase in the number of poor and working-class residents, especially African Americans from the South and whites from rural areas, who moved there to work in defense industries. There also existed a scarcity of materials and labor for civilian construction needs.

The Housing Act of 1949 was the first act of Congress that included federal funds and guidance for urban renewal in addition to providing federal funds and regulations for building more affordable private and public housing and clearing slums. This law also had the effect of continuing and expanding the practice of redlining as more whites, assisted by federally subsidized home mortgages for veterans, moved from cities to suburbs and a larger percentage of urban populations consisted of lowincome African Americans and Latinos.

During the 1950s, other federal policies, especially the interstate highway program, accelerated the economic and social decline of major cities, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, as more middle-class homeowners lived in suburbs and commuted to cities for work or moved to growing metropolitan areas of the South and West. Under President Dwight D. Eisenhower (served 19531961), the federal government financed a limited number of competitive block grants to help cities revitalize their downtown business districts and clear slums. Led by Mayor Richard Lee, the ambitious urban renewal project of New Haven, Connecticut, was a prominent beneficiary of this federal aid. Toward the end of his presidency, however, Eisenhower vetoed Democratic legislation intended to economically revitalize chronically depressed cities and rural areas on a more expensive, comprehensive basis.

By the 1960s, major urban renewal projects had been completed in Pittsburgh, Boston, and New Haven. Under the leadership of parks commissioner Robert Moses, New York City continued to construct new highways, expressways, bridges, tunnels, office buildings, and public housing and to force the migration and dispersal of residents and small businesses from working-class and poor neighborhoods. Jane Jacobss 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, galvanized greater public opposition to urban renewal policies, especially in New York City. Jacobs argued that comprehensive, aggressive urban renewal policies, like those of Moses, often destroyed the social cohesion and quality of life of urban neighborhoods. Critics of urban renewal referred to it as Negro removal for adversely affecting urban black neighborhoods in particular. Poor and elderly blacks were forced to move to public housing projects while middle-class black professionals and business owners often moved to suburbs.

Partially influenced by Jacobs, some of the Great Society programs of President Lyndon B. Johnson (served 19631969) tried to ameliorate the social problems caused or worsened by urban renewal. Programs such as Model Cities, Head Start, Community Action, Legal Services, and Job Corps were intended to help urban residents, especially low-income African Americans and Latinos, to improve their social, economic, and educational conditions and redress their grievances against local officials and businesses. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 addressed the increasing residential segregation of poor African Americans and Latinos in major cities by prohibiting racial discrimination in the sale and rental of both public and private housing. Nonetheless, major racerelated urban riots occurred during the 1960s.

The Republican administrations of presidents Richard M. Nixon (served 19691974) and Gerald R. Ford (served 19741977) eliminated or reduced funding for the most urban-oriented Great Society programs. However, they increased total federal aid to cities by introducing General Revenue Sharing (GRS) and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). GRS and CDBG increased federal aid to cities while reducing federal control, and CDBG gave local business interests greater discretion in using CDBG funds for urban renewal. By the 1980s, the percentage of local government budgets consisting of federal aid peaked at 30 percent.

Determined to reduce federal spending and intervention in urban affairs, President Ronald W. Reagan (served 19811989) eliminated GRS by 1987 and reduced the number of block grants. Instead, the Republican administrations of Reagan and President George H. W. Bush (served 19891993) emphasized the use of tax credits and other market-based incentives to encourage the ownership of public housing units by their residents and to subsidize the construction of affordable private housing through HUD grants. By 1990 the percentage of local government budgets derived from federal aid declined to 17 percent.

With a Republican-controlled Congress during most of his administration, Democratic president William J. Clinton (served 19932001) did not introduce a major new role for the federal government in urban renewal. Instead, Clintons policies sought to improve the quality of life for the urban working poor, especially racial and ethnic minorities, through earned income tax credits, the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, greater access to Head Start and public health services for poor, urban children, and more federal aid for law enforcement and public safety. By 2000 federal aid as a percentage of local government budgets had modestly increased to 20 percent. With steady economic growth during most of the 1990s and early twenty-first century, gentrification became the primary objective of urban renewal as local officials and business interests sought to attract young, affluent professionals as new residents and more tourists, conventions, and cultural activities to downtown areas.

SEE ALSO Cities; Community Power Studies; Dahl, Robert Alan; Gentrification; Ghetto; Jacobs, Jane; Johnson, Lyndon B.; Moses, Robert; Neighborhoods; Planning; Segregation; Segregation, Residential; Urban Riots; Urban Studies; Urbanization


Banfield, Edward C. 1970. The Unheavenly City. Boston: Little, Brown.

Caro, Robert A. 1975. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Random House.

Harrigan, John J., and Ronald K. Vogel. 2006. Political Change in the Metropolis, 8th ed. New York: Longman.

Jacobs, Jane. 1961. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House.

Judd, Dennis R., and Todd Swanson. 2002. City Politics: Private Power and Public Policy, 3rd ed. New York: Longman.

Mollenkopf, John H. 1983. The Contested City. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Sean J. Savage

Urban Renewal

views updated Jun 11 2018


Urbanization of a society occurs when city population growth rates exceed that of rural areas. Urbanization was a hallmark of U.S. economic development throughout the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. Increasing industrialization lured multiple waves of immigrants into primarily Northern urban settings seeking employment. Initially, rural peoples arrived from farms at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Foreign immigrants followed from northern and western Europe in the mid-1800s and eastern and southern Europe in the 1890s through the early part of the twentieth century. Finally, African Americans came from the American South in two major migration waves during the first half of the twentieth century. Ethnic and racial enclaves and neighborhoods came to comprise the socioeconomic mosaics of cities.

Sanitation, poverty, and overcrowding were persistent urban problems from the beginning, and became a national problem toward the end of the nineteenth century. Enhancement of urban life was a key element of the 1930s New Deal programs. Congress created the U.S. Housing Authority in 1937 to clear slums and provide public housing for low-income residents. Employment programs funded the construction of public buildings such as schools, hospitals, and urban parks.

Economic prosperity characterized the United States after World War II (19391945). Transportation advances including urban freeway systems and low-cost government mortgages for war veterans fueled the great movement of white middle class city dwellers to the suburbs. With the exodus from cities taking away tax revenue and jobs, American cities began a steep downward spiral in quality of life and socioeconomic stability. Poverty, dilapidated housing, and high crime rates characterized inner city neighborhoods, largely populated by minorities. The urban black ghetto riots of the 1960s led to greater white migration to the suburbs, which became known as the "white flight." A pattern of urban de-industrialization followed, with manufacturing businesses moving out of inner city areas creating edge cities in the suburbs. Americans' attitudes toward the cities radically declined and racism became an urban problem rather than a Southern problem.

To counter these growing trends of declining inner cities, the first broad program of urban renewal was initiated in the 1950s. Congress funneled substantial amounts of federal financial aid to cities aimed at eliminating slums and ghettos and replacing them with improved housing and industrial and commercial areas. The Housing Act of 1954 provided "categorical" grants to restore older housing, directing public funds to specifically proposed actions. However, new high-rise housing projects of the 1950s and early 1960s soon represented the worst of black ghetto life.

The lack of success of categorical grants led to the Community Development Act of 1974. The act introduced block grants giving cities greater flexibility to address their specific needs through locally developed renewal plans. City plans required approval from the Department of Housing and Urban Development before qualifying for funding. Using block grants, cities would purchase slum areas, sometimes exercising eminent domain, to force the sale of private property to the government. The city would then demolish the buildings, clear the lots, and sell the land to private developers, or put it to public use. Highly toxic remains of abandoned industry often littered these inner city areas leading to costly environmental clean-up efforts. Prices for the cleared land were frequently set low and sometimes supplemented with tax breaks to attract private developers. Thus, the program operated at marked deficits for both city and federal governments. Housing developments, shopping centers, and office complexes were built in the newly cleared areas.

Although federal law required cities to assist displaced residents and businesses in finding new affordable locations, the dislocations often resulted in economic hardships. Urban renewal essentially became black removal. Cities typically built new public housing away from the renewal areas and traditional work sources while reserving renewal areas for the middle and upper income residents to stimulate economic growth.

The 1970s also saw other urban renewal programs including urban homesteading. Old abandoned houses that had fallen into city ownership were sold at low cost to individuals interested in restoring and living in them. The 1980s saw several states implement urban enterprise zones, attempting to attract new businesses to inner city areas. The zones provided tax cuts and relief from regulations including zoning laws and rent controls. These programs were largely ineffective, however, given the extent of city problems.

The results of federally funded urban renewal programs were mixed. A number of declining downtown areas were economically revitalized by introducing new industrial and commercial developments. Thousands of families found improved urban housing and new schools, parks, hospitals, museums, and libraries were erected in cleared slum areas. In some cases neighborhoods became integrated as a result. Many areas cleared under the federal programs, however, remained vacant. The high-rise low income public housing projects attracted poverty, crime, and disease. Consequently, many housing projects experienced high vacancy rates. Critics of urban renewal policies claimed cities' efforts to attract new business and higher-income residents caused cities that were already established to deteriorate.

The height of concerted urban renewal efforts at a national level ended after the 1970s. Under President Ronald Reagan (19811989), the U.S. government substantially reduced financial aid for urban development and housing. Through the remainder of the twentieth century, urban renewal became more the responsibility of city and state governments and renewal activity declined significantly. The 1990s brought concepts of empowerment zones, in which distressed urban areas received tax breaks, federal investment for creating new businesses, and job retraining programs. Other urban renewal concepts involved home ownership zones for affordable housing, and education opportunity zones to assist the most needy schools.

See also: De-Industrialization, Ghetto, Industrialization, Slums, Suburbs (Rise of), Tenements, Urbanization


Ambrose, Peter J. Urban Process and Power. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Greenberg, Michael R., and Dona Schneider. Environmentally Devastated Neighborhoods: Perceptions, Policies, and Realities. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996.

Kearns, Gerry and Chris Philo, ed. Selling Places: The City as Cultural Capital, Past and Present. New York: Pergamon Press, 1993.

King, Anthony D., ed. Re-presenting the City: Ethnicity, Capital and Culture in the 21st-Century Metropolis. New York: New York University Press, 1996.

Widner, Ralph R., and Marvin E. Wolfgang, eds. Revitalizing the Industrial City. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1986.

urban renewal

views updated Jun 11 2018

urban renewal. Fashionable American term of the 1950s, which really meant large-scale destructive redevelopment of urban areas, often in association with central or municipal government. It was adopted in the United Kingdom to mean the replanning of towns or urban centres to modernize them and provide access for traffic. More recently it has tended to imply a renewal of urban fabric damaged through neglect or inappropriate intervention.


Doxiadis (1966a);
Huxtable (1970, 1976, 1986, 1986a, 1997);
Jacobs (1961, 1969, 1984, 1984, 1992, 1996)

urban renewal

views updated May 21 2018

ur·ban re·new·al • n. the redevelopment of areas within a large city, typically involving the clearance of slums.