Urban Renewal Politics: Slum Clearance in Newark

By Harold Kaplan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III

The Politicos

The interest of the "politico" in urban renewal centers on the detailed application of urban renewal policies to particular individuals or groups. He is less interested in setting general renewal policy than in doing favors. His major concerns are how NHA's actions affect the lives of Newark residents, how these residents respond, and what can be done to help them. His major activity in urban renewal is to make requests of NHA for jobs, favors, and other considerations.

The term "politico" generally refers to an elected official at City Hall, although the phrase will be used to include all those who share the above-defined perspective. This perspective, and the demands the Politicos make of NHA, will be called "political," using the word in quotation marks to denote this special sense.


TAKING NHA OUT OF "POLITICS"

The structure of NHA's relations with City Hall was established in the years immediately preceding the launching of urban re- development. 1 In summer, 1948, a near scandal in public housing disrupted the arrangements that had existed between City Hall and NHA since 1939 and led to the negotiation of the arrangements that now prevail.

NHA was apparently a highly "political" agency during most of its first decade in public housing. Informants agree that the city commissioners, during these years, freely intervened in site and tenant selection, the awarding of contracts, and most other aspects of public housing. The politicos favored public projects in their neighborhoods, since projects were low-rise, garden-apartment structures built on vacant sites and occupied by people of the vicinity. Each commissioner viewed a project in his home area as

-39-

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Urban Renewal Politics: Slum Clearance in Newark
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Tables xii
  • Figures xii
  • Abbreviations of Agencies and Organizations xiii
  • Chapter I - Introduction 1
  • Chapter II - Nha: the Strategy of Slum Clearance 10
  • Chapter III - The Politicos 39
  • Chapter IV - The Civic Leaders: Neighborhood Rehabilitation 61
  • Chapter V - The Civic Leaders: Economic Development 93
  • Chapter VI - The Planners 114
  • Chapter VII - The Grass Roots 135
  • Chapter VIII - The Urban Renewal System in Newark 165
  • Chapter IX - Postscript: 1963 184
  • Notes 193
  • Index 207
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