Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act

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The Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966 was enacted by the United States Congress to guarantee that federal grants were being spent on set projects in urban redevelopment. During the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson had initiated expansion of federal grant programs for construction projects, increasing the need to coordinate these projects. The act helped coordinate projects for urban renewal, highways, transit or other construction, most being in support of cities and metropolitan development.

Section 204[edit]

It asserted the federal interest in improving the coordination of public facility construction projects "to obtain maximum effectiveness of federal spending and to relate such projects to areawide development plans."[1]

It further required that all applications for the planning and construction of facilities be submitted to an areawide planning agency for review. The agency was required to be composed of local elected officials. The objective was to encourage the coordination of planning and construction of physical facilities in urban areas.


In response to these new requirements, many urban areas started new planning agencies or commissions to include elected officials on their policy boards. By the end of 1969, only seven metropolitan areas lacked an areawide review agency.[2]

Overview of Rules and Guidelines[edit]

This Act allows the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to provide financial and technical assistance to enable cities to plan and carry out programs designed to improve the quality of US urban life. Some of the projects that qualify for this assistance are comprehensive plans to rebuild or revitalize disadvantaged areas. This program is only available if the plan expects and encourages widespread civilian participation. The Secretary (of Housing and Urban Development) is expected to emphasize the initiative of local civilians in the planning, development and implementation of the demonstration programs.[3]