Meeting the Challenge of Urban Revitalization

Intensified spatial, racial, and social isolation of the inner-city poor is the single most significant aspect of American urban decline in the latter half of the twentieth century. Successful urban revitalization depends on our willingness to confront it. Failure to deal with it will leave a critical mass of human misery at the cores of our cities, and a self-sustaining chain reaction of poverty that no amount of tax credits, tax incentives, or business investment can ever overcome.

The Clinton administration’s urban strategy is founded on an understanding of this reality. Our approach to urban revitalization is, accordingly, twofold: on one hand, we seek to channel capital and human resources into inner-city communities to enable these areas to lift themselves economically; on the other hand, we seek to transform them into engines of transition. Our initiatives must not only bring about immediate improvements in people’s lives, they must put individuals on a ladder to better lives-to economic self-sufficiency and full membership in broader society.