I’ve been meaning to getting around to talking about a lovely record group at the National Archives. If you go to their OPAC called ARC and throw in the phrase “National Capitol Planning Commission” you will find a slew of series that pertain to the history and development of the District of Columbia. Records Relating to Urban Renewal (ARC ID# 784266) do contain a lot of info about Shaw and other areas that got ‘renewed’ in the middle of the 20th Century. Another series I want to focus on in this post are the Transcripts of Proceedings and Minutes of Meetings, 01/1924 – 12/02/1999 (ARC ID# 1571319).
At the 1962 September Open Session Meeting of the Commission (9/13/1962), when speaking about the Northeast No. 1 Urban Renewal Project, Brig. General F.J. Clarke made the statement:
Urban Renewal, as presently thought of, may be separated into 2 principal categories: First, being those actions which are concerned with preventing future slums, namely improved planning, improved codes, etc.; and, 2nd, the elimination of existing slum or blighted areas.
In this category of eliminating existing slums, the primary purpose of urban renewal is the elimination of slum or blighted areas by various means: acquisition and demolition of structures; the rehabilitation of existing structures; installation of public facilities, and other measures.
Secondarily in purpose but not in importance is the prevention of the recurrence of slum and blighted conditions again in the redeveloped or renewed area.
There’s more, but I don’t feel like transcribing it right now. It points a bit to the thinking of the ‘why’. It’s getting to the what, that makes things interesting.