The Legacy of Urban Renewal

Maynard Jackson With New Marta Cars, 1977
Atlanta, Downtown

In recent decades, activists have increasingly criticized the detrimental effects that urban renewal had on low-income communities. In the 1990s the federal government established programs such as Empowerment Zones, which provided incentives for renewal projects that avoided demolishing parts of downtown areas. Additionally, in Atlanta, the creation of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rail Transit Authority (MARTA) provided an alternative to automotive dependence. By the end of the twentieth century, Atlanta and other central cities had begun to recover from the economic distress that prevailed in the 1960s and 1970s. But the gentrification of intown neighborhoods has resulted in widespread displacement of longtime residents. This trend can now be seen most clearly in neighborhoods such as Old Fourth Ward and Summerhill.