A. Barton Hinkle on How Urban Renewal Destroys Neighborhoods


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Urban renewal is the term used to describe the process by which government authorities bulldoze neighborhoods in order to start over from scratch. It became a staple of U.S. urban policy in the mid-20th century, when two federal housing programs shoveled money at localities so they could rejuvenate so-called slums, and a 1954 Supreme Court decision gave them carte blanche to trample the property rights of the underprivileged in order to eliminate so-called blight. But as A. Barton Hinkle explains, the real legacy of urban renewal has the been the destruction of neighborhoods and the enrichment of special interests.