Planned Abandonment: The Neighborhood Life-Cycle Theory and National Urban Policy
This article discusses the history and political economy of the neighborhood life-cycle or stage theory, an evolving real estate appraisal concept used as a basis for urban planning decisions in the United States. The life-cycle theory was revived by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after the urban riots of the 1960s and used by local planners to encourage the deliberate dispersal of low-income and African-American urban neighborhoods, followed by the eventual reuse of abandoned areas.
Postriot urban policy can be understood as a dialectical process of social change. Triage planning was used to depopulate areas of social unrest. Conflict over the neighborhood life-cycle theory changed the politics of urban renewal, leading to a greater focus on redlining. Community-based development became an alternative to planned abandonment, directing public and private resources into redlined areas.
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