After the great depression and 1st World War, the federal government initiated housing programs to curb the problem of urban slums which was evident in most cities in America. The aim of the program was to build clean and safe as well as modern housing in order to meet the needs of the less fortunate in the society. History denotes that there were about seven hundred housing programs which were established and some still operate even today under Federal Housing Programs (Lusignan, 2002).
The federal housing program started in 1933 after the congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act which was meant to support the public building projects by providing low interest loans to limited building corporations. The government established Public Works Administration (PWA) which had a housing division which completed building seven limited divided housing projects between the year 1933 and 1935. The housing projects were constructed using modern materials and designs. Although the Public Works Administration housing projects were of high quality and therefore less appropriate for the low income earners, there was one project which helped to create new housing for the low income earners. It was the only project that achieved the goal of clearing slums.
After the projects of PWA came to an end in the year 1937, United States Housing Act was established and it operated from the year 1937-1940. Since it was a decentralized program, the local public housing authorities were accorded the responsibility building new housing and the United States Housing Authority bore the responsibility of providing technical and financial assistance as well guidance during the building process. As the period of world war II approached, history records that the attention shifted to defense housing and a lot of houses which were already or almost complete were turned to defensive housing. At the same time, the Federal Works Agency was given the responsibility by the government to provide housing in the already congested defense industrial centers. After the war, the American housing program continued with the urban renewal efforts (Lusignan, 2002).
Each of the programs had great impacts especially in the urban centers and the suburbs. For instance, studies record that PWA managed to replace some of the worst urban slums with modern and safe housing which initiated other development activities. The United States Housing Authority also made a similar contribution since by 1940, studies of Lusignan (2002) indicate that it had managed to construct three hundred and seventy projects which managed to provide housing to around 120, 000 families. Although the Federal Works Agency built temporal houses which were destroyed after the war, its contribution cannot be underestimated since it provided defensive housing to families during the Second World War. From the year 1930-1940, the public housing programs impacted the whole U.S. community since it established modern and affordable housing. On the same note, the same efforts contributed greatly to changing the face of urban centers since a lot of slums which were established during the economic recession were eliminated (Lusignan, 2002).
Studies indicate that migration of people from rural areas to cities and from cities to suburbs as well as migration across the regions contributed greatly to change of the face of United States (Population: Urban, Rural, Suburban). Further studies indicate that at the beginning of the twentieth century, about 60% of the population was living in the rural areas but towards the end of the century, only 25% of the population was leaving in such areas. After the first and Second World War, many of cities in America grew or developed rapidly since a lot of people migrated from the rural areas. This was as a result of the effects of the two wars as well as the harsh economic conditions during, and after the great depression. However, after 1950, the rate of development in cities decreased especially because a lot of people left the cities and migrated to the suburbs. Further studies illustrate that though there was change of development in cities due to the trends of domestic migration, the growth of the suburbs was continuous through out the century. It bears noting that there were many factors that contributed to the change of migration trends. Apart from the effects of the war, racial segregation still added to the migration of the blacks from the areas where racial segregation was rampant to other areas (Population: Urban, Rural, Suburban). Therefore, the blacks and other racial minorities as well as people who were in the lower social economic class were involved greatly in migration since they had to look for better living conditions.
Apart from domestic migration, United States has always been affected by immigration not only during the twentieth century, but even earlier on. As a result, various acts were established to deal with the issues of immigration in the country. The Immigration and Nationality Act of the year 1965 was very significant since it abolished nation of origin quota system which existed since the Immigration Act of the year 1924. As a result, immigrants who were not initially allowed in to the country managed to find their way in to the United States. For instance, after 1965, the Asian American population increased due to the increase of immigrants from China, Philippines, India, Vietnam and Taiwan. Further studies indicate that the presence of immigrants led to the development of major cities like New York. Similarly, the presence of Asian communities has contributed greatly to the development of ethnic businesses, enclave economies as well as residential communities (Le, 2010). Therefore, since then, the immigrants in United States are of different racial and ethnic origin.
Le, C. (2010). The 1965 Immigration Act. Retrieved July 9, 2010, from http://www.asian-nation.org/1965-immigration-act.shtml
Lusignan, P. R. (2002). Public Housing in the United States,1933-1949. Retrieved July 9, 2010, from http://crm.cr.nps.gov/archive/25-01/25-01-16.pdf
Population: Urban, Rural, Suburban. (n.d.). Retrieved July 9, 2010, from http://www.pbs.org/fmc/book/1population6.htm