Urban renewal is a program, codified in state law, designed to help communities improve and redevelop areas that are physically deteriorated, unsafe, poorly planned, under-developed or in need of redevelopment. All fifty states have some form of urban renewal legislation.
Urban renewal began over fifty years ago as a federal program to improve inner city housing. It has evolved from a big-government program of large-scale inner city demolition to a local, collaborative process aimed at strengthening existing communities by creating a revenue stream to fund projects of value to the community. Though it has undergone many changes since its inception, urban renewal has endured as an effective way for cities and towns to make capital investments into their future.