How did cities attempt to address their housing problems through urban renewal?
There were two main types of housing problems that were sometimes addressed by urban renewal programs. One had to do with the quantity of housing and the other to do with its quality. Urban renewal was also used to increase the general attractiveness of inner cities and their economic vitality.
With regard to housing, urban renewal often sought to improve the quality of housing and of neighborhoods. By the 1950s and 1960s, many areas of some older American cities had become blighted. They had turned into what might be called slums with low-quality housing and various social problems. Urban renewal was, in part, an attempt to combat these problems by destroying the neighborhoods that had deteriorated and replacing them with better housing.
Urban renewal also sought to improve the quantity of housing. In some instances, the areas that were destroyed had consisted of single-family homes or relatively small apartment buildings. Urban renewal replaced some of these with large apartment towers, thus increasing the density of housing in the area.
It is also important to note that much urban renewal was done for economic reasons, to build highways, and for reasons of beautification. This did not really solve housing problems, but it was seen as a way to improve the overall quality of the cities.