Urban Economic Revitalization
In the mid-1970s, the country was feeling the effects of structural changes in the economy, high unemployment, inflation, and rising energy prices. Many of the problems had been developing for a number of years. The economy was in a transition from a predominantly manufacturing base to one that had a larger share concentrated in service, communication, and high technology industries. Jobs in the manufacturing sector were declining, and new jobs were growing in the new sectors of the economy. People were moving to those areas of the country where these jobs were being created, especially the South and the West. The older urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest were being affected most severely by these changes. But older central cities in all sections of the country were in decline, as jobs and people migrated first to the suburbs and then to the newer urban areas where the economies were growing.
These older communities and central cities were severely distressed economically and limited in their ability to address these problems themselves. It was recognized that the federal government had contributed to these problems with programs that had unintended consequences. However, many of the decisions that affected changes in urban areas were outside the control of even the federal government, and often any level of government. The federal, state, and local levels of government would, therefore, have to cooperate among themselves and with the private sector in order to alleviate these problems.
In Title VII of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970, Congress required preparation of biennial reports on national growth and development. Congress recognized the need to analyze the many aspects of the nation’s growth