A City Transformed: Redevelopment, Race, and Suburbanization by David Schuyler

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 monetary decline. because the advertisement and home infrastructure of the town decayed, humans and jobs migrated to the suburbs. city renewal used to be presupposed to make the downtown plausible back as a domain for either companies and flats. yet as David Schuyler indicates in A urban remodeled, redevelopment in Lancaster led to extra mess ups than successes. starting within the Nineteen Fifties, the Lancaster Redevelopment Authority applied a complete revitalization software that modified the actual form of the town. In trying to solidify the retail services of the conventional important company district, redevelopment dramatically altered key blocks of the downtown, exchanging good-looking turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts constructions with modernist concrete bins and a sterile public sq.. the tactic for taking out density and blighted structures ended in the demolition of complete blocks of dwellings and, probably extra vital, destabilized Lancaster's African American neighborhood. A urban reworked is a compelling exam of a northern urban suffering from its background and the legacy of segregation. however the redevelopment initiatives undertaken through town, in spite of the fact that 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 used to be a urban with a declining financial system, excessive degrees of poverty and joblessness, and an expanding focus of racial and ethnic minorities - a urban a great deal in danger. In very important methods what occurred in Lancaster was once the manufactured from federal rules and nationwide developments. As Schuyler observes, Lancaster's event is the nation's drama performed on an area degree.

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Extra resources for A City Transformed: Redevelopment, Race, and Suburbanization in Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1940-1980

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On other fronts the city claimed great progress in its war on slum housing. Of the 178 dwellings first identified as requiring major improvements or demolition in 1950, action on the part of landlords addressed the problem in half the structures by year’s end. At the beginning of 1952 Dr. Hogg of the Board of Health reported that although the city had subsequently identified fifteen other properties as unfit for occupancy, the number of substandard dwellings had been reduced to 68. 17 Although city officials boasted of continuing success in forcing owners to repair slum properties, the numbers reported annually by the Board of Health did not include Barney Google Row or Shantytown.

The American Caramel Company building, on the north side of Howard Avenue, looms over the small dwellings (Bureau of Planning, City of Lancaster). 22 The demolition of Striver’s house on August 26, 1957, marked the end of Barney Google Row. Several dwellings still remained at Shantytown. The city bulldozed three other “shacks” in September, at which time only six dwellings stood. But even as the city neared victory in its struggle to eliminate Barney Google Row and Shantytown, the problem of substandard housing was becoming more acute.

27 Two factors accounted for the persistence of slums in a booming national economy. One was the lack of construction of affordable housing, which affected Lancaster as well as many other cities. The Residential Security Map had effectively designated most of Lancaster as at risk for federally guaranteed mortgages (Fig. 4). 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.

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