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Professor Rebecca Retzlaff Publishes Research on Jimmy Carter’s Urban Policy

Jimmy Carter's Urban Policy

Community Planning Associate Professor Rebecca Retzlaff, and her co-author Stuart Meck, an Associate Research Professor and the Director of the Center for Planning Practice in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, have published a new refereed journal article in the Journal of Planning History on President Jimmy Carter’s Urban Policy (“President Jimmy Carter’s Urban Policy: A Reconstruction and an Appraisal,” August 2012, 242-280). This article is the result of three years of research into the urban policy, which was developed by the Carter administration in 1977-78.

The urban policy developed by the Carter administration was the first and only national urban policy in the United States. It yielded proposals for federally supported regional land-use planning, regional tax-base sharing, neighborhood empowerment, an urban development bank, and an urban impact analysis requirement for federally supported projects. Retzlaff and Meck’s article chronicled the formulation of the urban policy, its initiatives, and its eventual implementation, and questions whether a national urban policy for the United States can ever be developed.

During the research for the article, Retzlaff wrote to President Jimmy Carter to get his thoughts on the urban policy, and Carter replied with handwritten comments with optimistic remarks about urban policy formulation in the future.

Stuart Eizenstat the chief domestic policy advisor during the Cater administration, sent an email to Retzlaff and Meck after the article was published, noting that it was “very well done, balanced, and incisive.”

The article is listed as one of the Journal of Planning History’s most downloaded articles.

The urban policy developed by the Carter administration also has been the subject of peer-reviewed conference papers by Retzlaff and Meck at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in 2012 and the Society for American City and Regional Planning History Conference in 2011

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