Box 22, Folder 18, Document 27

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Box 22, Folder 18, Document 27

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America and its conuntmities are changing with tmsettling rapidity.
t~st of this change has been healthy; and most of the problems it
has caused tend to evoke their mm solutions.
This country - despite
its transitional strains and its freely-voiced compla:ints - has an
i.rnmense capacity for self-correction.
There is always a temptation - and a pressure - to over-react:
to give equal ear to every complaint, to chase off after every problem,
and to wind up with congeries of programs ,~hich may slow up rather than
_ accelerate the nation's natural and long-run capacity for self-correction.
Evidence is accumulating that such has already happened in the
federal govenunent' s response to urban problems over the past twenty
These have been years of improvisation, and probing.
have been constructive.
On balance, they
But neither in scale nor impact have they caught
up with the dimensions and force of the nation's urban trends and
developing problems.
The time has come to move from improvisation over a wide front, and
in sorretirnes contrary directions, to an effort
a) lvhich is aimed at selected problems of transcending ir.Jportance;
b) which 1s of a scale large enough to make a difference;
c) which is not dissipated by conflictD1g policies and administrative
d) which offer powerful incentives to state, local and private

initiative, ancl thereby move toward a "steady state" of

continuous problem-solving;
e) which begin to erase the public's skepticism -- its growing
feeling that public programs are not to be taken seriously,
that 111ore is promised than will ever be delivered.
The Task Force believes that the first priorities for public action
urban An,erica are related to the grmving disparity between city and
suburb. -· A disparity which is expressed in the segregation between white
and black, the gap between income in central city and in suburb, the
uneven economic growth in our metropolitan areas, and in our capacity
for response to the problems of central cities.
Today too many of our central cities have become the political
jurisdictions and geographic areas in which accident, design and even
progress have housed an inordinately high proportion of our problem
people and an outsized share of our problerrLc; of public policy.
The Task Force on cities decided early in its deliberations to
focus on these urban disparities.
e have
identified t wo major approaches.
The first is a straight-
fonvard discussion of urban segregation by r ace and income and some
recommendations intended to alleviate its ef f ects .
The second involves
a s eries of re commendations - some modest, some sweeping - intended to
increase sharpl y our abilit y to deal with urban prob l ems creativel y,
rez!X'ns ivel y, and on a l arger scal e t han i s presently possible.
We also have found it convenient to acld three smaller sections to
our report; on :innovation, the model cities program, and an agenda for
future study.
While we recolillnend that Federal action in these areas be altered,
refocused and expande<l, we aclmit two general caveats.
That our knmJledge of how to deal Hi th urban problems both
physical and human is still limited.
That a period of intensive and
well-managed experimentation is a necessary first step in any large
scale strategy for altering the patten1 of urban development.
While we believe that the sorts of programs we are recommen<lin[!
should have the hi~hest national priority, lve recognize how politically
and practically <lifficult it is to spend a larger portion of our resources
on the urban poor and the central cities.
This is true fundamentally
because the present system of urban <levelopment works quite well for
most people.
i',!ost Arnericans are happy in suburbs, they have done well
in the system, and they look fon.rard to doing better.
on the disaffected and they are few.
society, however, is enonnous.
Our report focuses
Their potential impact on Ar.terican

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