Everywhere you look change occurs in our society. Change is inevitable because it is the way of life that each of us deals with. It can be beneficial or harmful to the community depending on how the public views it. One such example is urban revitalization in public history. The land is redeveloped in areas of high to moderate density use of urban area. However, urban revitalization has met with opposition at times because the public does not agree that it is beneficial to the community in regards to financial and historical value. The goals and challenges of urban revitalization significantly pertain to public history. This event began with the Housing Act of 1949. The federal government provided funding to different cities to purchase lands that were slums for redevelopment. Dr. Stacey Sutton says, “They were compelled to innovate spatial and social strategies to revitalize neighborhoods and stimulate urban growth and development.” The challenge faced is cooperation from the public because it may not agree on the location of the revitalization project as the area may have historical buildings located on the property. Some of the locations selected for urban revitalization programs were in areas where disadvantaged people resided. It seemed this targets low-income people to chase them out. The challenge this act encounters is displacing people from their homes. The crime wave can increase which will be difficult for the police to handle. If the people are in housing towers, it might be dehumanizing. Also, another challenge is when it occurs to the public that their point of view is not consulted. In the past, Atlantic City went through an urban revitalization where the casinos were built on private citizen properties. New Jersey used eminent domain to gain rights to develop on the property. The citizens were told that the profits from the casino would be reinvested into Atlantic City, but it never occurred.
The historical integrity meshes with politics and financial incentives and urban revitalization. Today individuals want to return to their roots of their neighborhood. Dan Costello states, “During the past two decades Americans have rediscovered embrace the elements other cities and neighborhoods politicians support this view because the United States’ citizen want to hold on to their heritage.” The majority request and demands that the politicians support their views if not they are reelected. The urban planners and civic leaders have assessed it was an important role.
Hurley agrees with Costello and claims, “In recent years, Public History has become a powerful tool for urban revitalization at the grass roots. In cities across the United States, communities have pursued greater social stability and economic vitality by conducting
historic house tours, designing history trails, sponsoring oral history.” Hurley also discusses how when politic and civic actors become involved in the urbanization process, this can be an issue because the importance and depth of historical motivations can be interpreted differently. Naturally, this makes perfect sense as everyone has their own viewpoints on what is significant to them. Also, people in political or economic functions operate with an agenda, while public citizens are more concerned with their heritage than a revitalization project being cost effective or politically correct.
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