By David Schuyler
As used to be precise of many American towns, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, followed city renewal courses within the postwar years to revitalize a downtown that was once experiencing fiscal decline. because the advertisement and home infrastructure of town decayed, humans and jobs migrated to the suburbs. city renewal was once speculated to make the downtown possible back as a domain for either companies and flats. yet as David Schuyler exhibits in A urban reworked, redevelopment in Lancaster led to extra mess ups than successes. starting within the Fifties, the Lancaster Redevelopment Authority carried out a complete revitalization application that modified the actual form of the town. In trying to solidify the retail capabilities of the normal primary enterprise district, redevelopment dramatically altered key blocks of the downtown, changing good-looking turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts constructions with modernist concrete containers and a sterile public sq.. the method for getting rid of density and blighted constructions led to the demolition of entire blocks of dwellings and, possibly extra vital, destabilized Lancaster's African American group. A urban reworked is a compelling exam of a northern urban suffering from its background and the legacy of segregation. however the redevelopment tasks undertaken via the town, despite the fact that bold, couldn't conquer the suburban progress that keeps to sprawl over the nation-state, or the styles of residential segregation that outline urban and suburb. whilst the Redevelopment Authority ceased working in 1980, its legacy used to be a urban with a declining economic climate, excessive degrees of poverty and joblessness, and an expanding focus of racial and ethnic minorities - a urban greatly in danger. In vital methods what occurred in Lancaster was once the made of federal regulations and nationwide tendencies. As Schuyler observes, Lancaster's adventure is the nation's drama performed on an area degree.
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Additional resources for A City Transformed: Redevelopment, Race, and Suburbanization in Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1940-1980
In their quest for solutions, Lancaster’s elected officials turned to planners and redevelopment experts who described the city as very much at risk. Lancaster, the planners asserted, needed to take dramatic steps to revitalize its central business district, a conclusion that pointed toward undertaking a comprehensive urban renewal program. Although redevelopment involved risks, and although any project of a scale commensurate with the problems of downtown would have enormous consequences for the physical fabric and social geography of the city in the years to come, proponents of revitalization pointed out that the cost of doing nothing, of allowing the cancerous blight to spread unchecked, was arguably the greater danger.
While only three areas were actually redlined—two parcels in the southeast and the small residential community at Sunnyside, which had been annexed to Lancaster in 1955—fully two-thirds of the city was covered with crosshatching, which indicated a pattern of mixed industrial, commercial, and residential use that planners considered inappropriate for homes and that bankers judged detrimental to property values. The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), established in 1933, adopted a system of evaluation to determine the suitability of residential neighborhoods for federally guaranteed mortgages.
To smooth the transition from war to peace, in 1944 Lancaster’s City Council appointed a Post-War Planning Council, headed by businessman A. Z. Moore. Save for the work of the Housing Committee, which investigated the existence of blighted areas such as Barney Google Row and Shantytown, the activities of the council have proven difficult to trace; if it prepared a report, that document apparently has not survived. The council did, however, recommend that the city employ a consultant to update the Nolen Plan, which resulted in the hiring of Baker Engineers, of Rochester, Pennsylvania, to undertake this task.
A City Transformed: Redevelopment, Race, and Suburbanization in Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1940-1980 by David Schuyler
Categories: Urban Land Use Planning