March 1, 2011
W11-3: Of the several large and important domestic housing and urban programs produced by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society administration, the best-known is Model Cities. Although it lasted only from 1966 to 1974, its advocates believed Model Cities had promised a better tomorrow for America’s cities and bitterly lamented its termination—blaming Richard Nixon’s policies, diversion of funds for the Vietnam war, and the nation’s lack of commitment to social progress. Yet the legislation that created Model Cities was ambitious, contradictory, and vague. As such, it vividly expressed the idealistic impulses, currents of thought, and reactions to events that converged, however incoherently, in national urban policy of the 1960s...
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