The Many Geographies of Urban Renewal: New Perspectives on the Housing Act of 1949

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The consequences of the federal Housing Act of 1949—which supported the clearance and redevelopment of “blighted” areas across the nation—were felt by communities of all sizes, not just large cities. The Many Geographies of Urban Renewal presents a more comprehensive view of the federal urban renewal program by situating the experiences of large cities like Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia, PA alongside other geographies, such as the small city of Waterville, ME, suburban St. Louis County in Missouri, the State of New York, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and others. Chapters identify trends and connections that cut across jurisdictional boundaries, investigate who used federal funds, how those funds were used, and examine the profound short and long-term consequences of the program.

Taken as a whole, the essays showcase the unexpected diversity of how different communities used the federal urban renewal program. The Many Geographies of Urban Renewal allows us to better understand what was arguably the most significant urban policy of the 20th century, and how that policy shaped the American landscape.

Contributors Francesca Russello Ammon, Brent Cebul, Robert B. Fairbanks, Leif Fredrickson, Colin Gordon, David Hochfelder, Benjamin D. Lisle, Robert K. Nelson, Stacy Kinlock Sewell and the editor
Original languageAmerican English
Place of PublicationPhiladelphia, PA
PublisherTemple University
Number of pages232
ISBN (Print)978-1-4399-2171-5
StatePublished - 2023


  • urban renewal
  • Housing
  • city planning


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