ABSTRACT

The historical relationship between redevelopment policy and the urbanization of Chicana/o communities has produced few positive solutions to the reality of constant decline in barrios of the Southwest. In fact, an analysis of the socio-economic conditions and built environment in Southwestern barrios would lead one to question whether any urban development policy has ever attempted to comprehensively address the urban crises within these neighborhoods. The condition of barrios and colonias remains remarkably unchanged since the commencement of the War on Poverty. This statement is not to imply that no public or private reinvestment has occurred, but it must be acknowledged that scant beneficial change-social or economic-has resulted from redevelopment policy enacted since the 1960s. What has evolved is a contentious relationship among civic leaders, planning officials, and the community. Cities have used poverty as an excuse to legitimate the redistribution of funds into civic center development vis-à-viz barrios, and they have abandoned affordable housing strategies addressing demands of working-class communities. Also, cities have mismanaged development policies, thus leading to the deterioration of minority commercial districts. There is a legacy of unevenly directed development funds, and this is a legacy in which disinvestment has remained the most common urban policy response (Harvey 1985; Gottdiener 1985; Smith 1979; Mollenkopf 1983; Friedland 1983).