Urban Renewal

What is Urban renewal? Discuss the issues and strategies of urban renewal of a state capital. Urban renewal is a program of land re-development in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. It can be envisaged as the physical and infrastructural changes in land use, built environment or intensity of the use of land or building that could be considered as inevitable outcome of the action from economic, social, political, technical and environmental forces acting upon urban areas at different times of its existence.
It is a program designed to help communities improve and revitalize areas that have deteriorated, are unsafe and/ or show signs of economic or physical conditions that are detrimental to the community as a whole. Urban renewal could be in the form of: -Physical change: Part of land is developed as a multistory building. -Infrastructural change: widening of roads, introduction of metro-rail, etc. -Change in land use: function of building changes, keeping the structure same eg residential to commercial -Change in built form: increase in no. of storeys. Change in environment: congestion on road cleared, trees planted , garbage removed, etc. In the second half of the 20th century, renewal often resulted in the creation of urban sprawl and vast areas of cities being demolished and replaced by freeways and expressways, housing projects, and vacant lots, some of which still remain vacant at the beginning of the 21st century. Urban renewal’s effect on actual revitalization is a subject of intense debate. It is seen by proponents as an economic engine, and by opponents as a regressive mechanism for enriching the wealthy at the expense of taxpayers and the poor.
It carries a high cost to existing communities, and in many cases resulted in the destruction of vibrant—if run-down —neighborhoods. Urban renewal in its original form has been called a failure by many urban planners and civic leaders, and has since been reformulated with a focus on redevelopment of existing communities. Over time, urban renewal evolved into a policy based less on destruction and more on renovation and investment, and today is an integral part of many local governments, often combined with small and big business incentives.

But even in this adapted form, Urban Renewal projects are still widely accused of abuse and corruption. Behind the idea of urban renewal was a belief that if the government removed people from such places and put them in better places, it would improve not only their lives and their self-image, but also their behavior. This idealistic philosophy became common in America by the end of World War I. IMPORTANCE OF URBAN RENEWAL Urban renewal is critical to the success of local communities and the long-term prosperity of citizens living in urban areas.
Without urban renewal, there would be no incentive for developers to tackle the challenges associated with redevelopment, and deteriorating downtown areas would be subject to increased crime and safety problems, while continued growth on the fringes of communities would add to the problem of urban sprawl. NEED FOR URBAN RENEWAL – Rise in land value – Expansion of service centers – Change in transportation mode – Latest realization of global energy scenario. BENEFITS OF URBAN RENEWAL
Providing matching funds for money from other sources (such as state or federal grants) Funding infrastructure, which brings additional funds to the community through permit fees, system development charges (SDCs), water and sewer hook? up charges, etc. Increasing the value of property next to the urban renewal district. Improving the quality of life through new or renovated parks, roadways, civic and cultural facilities, and expanded economic development OBJECTIVES OF URBAN RENEWAL – To eliminate sub optimal uses To create conditions for efficient and economic use of scarce and costly urban infrastructure. – To improve the efficiency of urban system – To reduce social cost of urban development and arrange for cross financing Urban renewal also took hold in medium sized cities, many of which used urban renewal laws to pay for public housing, new bridges, and new thoroughfares. There was a time when the phrase “urban renewal” was a popular one. But today it often carries a negative connotation, regardless of the truth, however, urban renewal did a lot to change cities.
Chicago’s now demolished Cabrini-Green housing project, one of many urban renewal efforts. Issue: -Cities unfortunately with some exceptions, have not been enabled to look inward and build on their inherent capacities, both financial and technical, and instead are still being seen in many states as ‘wards’ of the State governments. -A major failure of city governance has been our inability to address the needs of the poor – basic services like drinking water supply, sanitation, housing and social services are not available to an increasing share of urban population. The latent creativity and vitality of our cities and the people who live in them must be tapped to facilitate higher economic growth. -Substantially upgrade the delivery of basic and other urban services which are in bad state. -Understand the cost and impact of providing poor basic services in the urban areas, so that efficient services can be planned. -Plan for generating gainful employment opportunities and environmental safeguarding adopting community centered approach.
Provide opportunities and funds for capacity building, skill development, vocational training, and flow of micro- credit. -The Development Commission (PDC) uses urban renewal as a tool to help specific areas of the city realize capital projects – parks, streetscape improvements, community centers, and the like that would not happen on their own. A house in Nashville before urban renewal URBAN RENEWAL SCHEMES Components of Urban Renewal: – Urban redevelopment – Urban Rehabilitation – Conservation: – Preservation – Rebuilding – Reuse – Replication Urban renewal funds can be used for . . .
Infrastructure (including such basic improvements as curbs and sidewalks, streets, sewers, flood control, and utility relocation and improvement) Public improvements (such as parks and open space, pedestrian and bike trails, landscaping and streetscaping, parking lots and parking structures, transportation improvements, helping to construct public buildings and facilities) In certain cases, redevelopment assistance for housing or commercial uses (such as land acquisition and site preparation or other public improvements) Planning and engineering (such as design, traffic and engineering studies); technical assistance to property owners and developers, and staff support from the renewal agency SITE SELECTION – Should be around or within prime location – Should intervene problem areas – Land should be easily available – Utility plan showing linkages with offsite infrastructure – Landscape proposals SEQUENCE OF PROJECT FORMULATION – Preparation of survey maps. Types of survey maps are: -Tourism map – 1:100000 – City map – 1:50000 – Police station map : 1:63366 ( 1” to a mile) Revenue survey map : 1:600 (plot size and built up spaces) – Identification of project area and influence area – Conduct field survey to collect socio economic data – Land maps, land holding pattern, building height , building edge etc. – Traffic information – Utility services – Financial status – Scheme/ concept preparation – Land use distribution – Future built form – Circulation plan EXECUTION OF THE SCHEME – Land acquisition – Payment of compensation – Construction of rehabilitation structures – Clearance of site and site development – Removal of under-gound utilities and relaying of utilities – Development of roads and other open areas
When the site is ready for construction , it is either leased out to promoters or Development authorities themselves start the construction. The urban renewal of a state capital involves: Working: The basic idea behind urban renewal is simple: future tax revenues pay for revitalization efforts. The City Council, acting on the recommendations of a community based steering committee and PDC, draws a line around an area (the urban renewal boundary) and identifies desirable improvements within that area (the urban renewal plan). The city issues urban renewal bonds to pay for the identified improvements. As property values increase in the area due to new investment, the rise in property tax revenues (called “tax increment”) is used to pay off the urban renewal bonds.
This financing method is called tax-increment financing, and it is the most common method of paying for improvements in an urban renewal area. Kind of projects : Urban renewal funds can be used for a variety of capital investments, such as: Redevelopment projects, such as projects near light rail that combine retail and residential components. Economic development strategies, such as small-business loans or loan programs tied to family-wage jobs. Housing loans and other financial tools for ownership and rental housing which serve a variety of income levels. Streetscape improvements, including new lighting, trees, sidewalks, pedestrian amenities, etc. Transportation enhancements, including light rail, streetcar, intersection improvements, etc. Parks and open spaces.
Roots of urban renewal : Urban renewal emerged in the late 1940s as an attempt to revitalize central cities, which were losing population and resources to new post-war suburbs. Until the 1960s, urban renewal was a federal program used to clear large areas of land largely to provide what was then considered to be improved housing conditions for thousands of people. It also funded large projects such as hospitals, highways and civic centers. The funding mechanisms and purposes of urban renewal changed in its early decades, but the term broadly referred to a set of programs and policies meant to counter inner-city disinvestment and reinvigorate declining downtown areas. Criteria : Urban renewal areas must show evidence of some degree of blight, demonstrated by conditions such as poorly constructed buildings, faulty planning, lack of open spaces, deteriorated properties, an incompatible mix of uses and improper utilization of land. -Urban renewal areas, their principles and the specific projects funded by them are conceived in consultation with citizen committees who represent a broad spectrum of community interests. In addition, three public bodies must approve any new urban renewal area: the Portland Development Commission, the Portland Planning Commission, and City Council. -In urban renewal areas, public investment is used to stimulate private investment on a much larger scale.
The amount of urban renewal funds invested in any one area is small compared to the private investment that follows. -Urban renewal is primarily used to update and improve an area’s infrastructure — through capital expenditures on transportation improvements and parks for example — and to provide incentives for desired development such as affordable housing, family-wage jobs and building refurbishment. -Urban renewal is designed to benefit all people within the urban renewal area, in surrounding neighborhoods and throughout the city and metropolitan area. -The urban renewal plan, which guides all public spending in the area, is conceived by citizens who are best able to make decisions about how to improve their neighborhood. Urban renewal can be a strong and effective tool to protect long-term affordability in revitalizing neighborhoods by financing the construction of affordable housing. -Urban renewal works to revitalize communities within the existing built environment. -Promote livelihood opportunities through skill building and enhancement of entrepreneurship. Enable public private partnership arrangement covering infrastructure development and service delivery. -The realization of the overall programme goal of improving the quality of life for all is possible only through the framework of long term development plan, replacing the narrow project based approach.

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