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The Expansion of Municipal Planning

The postwar period saw a large expansion of planning activity at the city, town, and country levels. The causes of this expansion were numerous. The prosperity of the postwar period gave municipal governments more funds to spend on planning. The satisfaction of private wants with the growth of the postwar economy naturally turned people's attention to public needs. It is easier to be concerned about the quality of one's community when one is well fed, well housed, and financially secure than when one is not. Postwar suburbanization, as it had after World War I, stimulated planning activity in thousands of suburban cities and towns by thrusting on them the problems of growth. The difference was that this time there was no Depression to cut short the suburbanization process. The growth of local planning activity was also powerfully stimulated by the federal government. Federal grants, Urban Renewal, and other programs discussed in this chapter stimulated the expansion of planning agencies. Beyond that, federal funds were made available to local agencies for general planning purposes under section 701 of the Housing Act of 1954 and subsequent legislation.

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