Perkins Backs Federal Plans For Urban Redevelopment
President Truman's plea for federal aid to the housing industry will get a "liberalized version" of the 1947 Taft- Fliender-Wagner Bill from the 81st Congress, G. Holmes Perkins '26, professor of Regional Planning, told the CRIMSON yesterday.
Perkins expressed hopes that a new housing law would provide sufficient funds for "urban re-development" which be considers the "erucial" step in American city planning after the emergency housing immediately necessary."
"Urban re-development means rennovation of rundown city areas such as Boston's downtown district. The hitch in such a program is that neither private enterprise nor the city can afford to pay for the tearing down of old buildings, the land on which new buildings are to be constructed, and the construction of the new buildings themselves. Hence federal and state funds are needed.
Have to Wait
"Extensive demolition in cities must be deferred, however, until after the period of acute, housing shortage," Perkins pointed out, "since even bad housing is better than no housing at all."
To alleviate the present crowding in most of the United States' large cities and to make urban re-development possible, Perkins strongly urged a shift of population away from cities and to new smaller communities which should be built in outlying areas.
Such decentralization, Perkins said, would not only ease the jam in city residential areas but would succeed in making the current building program more than just a restoration of pre-war conditions in housing.
Perkins served on a committee of the Architectural Institute of America which drew up recommendations for an emergency housing program, a long range project, and a bill for urban re-development which the institute will forward to Washington.
Key points in this program are: 1) Federal and local subsidy for construction of 200,000 housing units per year for two years. 2) Federal allocation of funds for research into housing problems. 3) Gradual reduction of rent controls to reduce the risk in construction of rental housing. 4) Funds for large scale urban re-development. 5) Establishment of machinery to stimulate replacement building in periods of economic depression in order to stabilize the construction industry and thereby produce lower construction costs.