NHA: The Strategy of Slum Clearance
The ability of any redevelopment agency to realize its goals is circumscribed by the attitudes and responses of local organized interests. 1 Many factors contributing to its success are attributes of the local political environment and are beyond the control of agency officials. As later chapters will document, NHA's success can be explained in large part by the permissive character of its local environment.
Environmental factors, however, are a necessary but not sufficient cause of NHA's success in redevelopment. Less adroit agencies might fail to perceive the permissive character of their local environment, and more timorous agencies might fail to exploit it for the benefit of the program. That NHA officials are painstaking strategists, attuned to the problems of successful redevelopment, is highly pertinent to that agency's long-run achievements. This chapter examines the process by which the Authority's staff made its clearance decisions from 1949 to 1959, the substance of its policies, and the strategies it developed for exploiting this permissive environment.
Newark was the first city in New Jersey and among the earliest in the nation to begin an urban renewal program. 2 Less than eighteen months intervened between the passage of the 1949 Housing Act and the announcement of Newark's first slum clearance project. Many in the Housing Authority now cite this "jump" as an important contribution to their subsequent success. By submitting a concrete clearance proposal earlier than most other cities in the