By David Schuyler
As was once real of many American towns, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, followed city renewal courses within the postwar years to revitalize a downtown that used to be experiencing fiscal decline. because the advertisement and home infrastructure of the town decayed, humans and jobs migrated to the suburbs. city renewal was once speculated to make the downtown workable back as a website for either companies and apartments. yet as David Schuyler indicates in A urban remodeled, redevelopment in Lancaster ended in extra mess ups than successes. starting within the Nineteen Fifties, the Lancaster Redevelopment Authority carried out a complete revitalization application that modified the actual form of town. In trying to solidify the retail capabilities of the normal imperative enterprise district, redevelopment dramatically altered key blocks of the downtown, exchanging good-looking turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts buildings with modernist concrete bins and a sterile public sq.. the method for doing away with density and blighted constructions led to the demolition of complete blocks of dwellings and, probably extra vital, destabilized Lancaster's African American group. A urban remodeled is a compelling exam of a northern urban suffering from its background and the legacy of segregation. however the redevelopment tasks undertaken by means of town, notwithstanding bold, couldn't conquer the suburban progress that maintains to sprawl over the geographical region, or the styles of residential segregation that outline urban and suburb. while the Redevelopment Authority ceased working in 1980, its legacy was once a urban with a declining economic system, excessive degrees of poverty and joblessness, and an expanding focus of racial and ethnic minorities - a urban a great deal in danger. In vital methods what occurred in Lancaster was once the made from federal rules and nationwide developments. As Schuyler observes, Lancaster's adventure is the nation's drama performed on an area degree.
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Extra info for A City Transformed: Redevelopment, Race, and Suburbanization in Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1940-1980
Harsh reality. Real estate agents routinely steered African Americans away from white neighborhoods and toward “the Ward,” as they euphemistically termed the part of the southeast below Howard Avenue, which was the 7th Ward of the city. Consequently, in 1950 the vast majority of the city’s African American population lived in the southeast. Only a small number of black households existed in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th wards, generally on alleys or in small houses close to factories or train tracks.
34 Barney Google Row and Shantytown stand as metaphors for the failure of slum clearance, in Lancaster and in other cities. 35 Nor did the city offer incentives to property owners to improve deteriorated dwellings in the southeast quadrant. Instead, community leaders denounced public housing as a subsidy and a threat to the free enterprise system. When the city finally moved against substandard housing, residents, who were tenants or squatters, were powerless: they did not have the resources to mount a legal challenge to the evictions; they could not defend their homes against the city’s bulldozers or demolition cranes.
Hogg, executive secretary of the Board of Health, announced that the city was beginning to compile minimum standards of living as the basis for a housing code, and he pointed to Baltimore’s widely regarded Waverly project, a code enforcement program, as a model of what Lancaster could accomplish in improving the condition of its housing. In April 1951 health officer B. F. Charles presented a set of criteria to be used as a “yardstick” in the slum eradication program—basic standards such as roof, spouting, exterior walls, porches, and sidewalks in good repair; well-fitted doors and windows; and serviceable sink and toilet.