Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

The Model Cities Program

First Page



The period from 1961 through 1965 saw a dramatic increase in the number of federal grant-in-aid programs and the total federal funding levels directed at curing the ills of the urban community. There was a persistent anxiety, however, that, despite the proliferation of new drugs administered to the patient for his array of symptoms, the progress was not satisfactory, and that time was running out. In October, 1965, a Task Force on Urban Problems was appointed by President Johnson to study urban problems and recommend action. The Task Force looked at the prior efforts and decided a new approach was necessary-a treatment to be commenced in selected cities as a demonstration." They recommended that the federal, state and local medicine men consult with each other in order to develop a program of drug therapy which would be comprehensive, and coordinated. They also recommended that massive new types and higher dosage levels of drugs were necessary if the patient was to be revitalized. The basic Task Force recommendation was accepted by the President and presented to the Congress in his message of January 26, 1966. A proposed "Demonstration Cities Act of 1966" was introduced into Congress, which was later consolidated with other provisions into an omnibus bill, and finally was enacted as Title I of the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966. As HUD commenced to implement the new program, it was given its popular name, the "Model Cities Program," a designation not appearing in the Act. This article presents this, program in its historical perspective and its posture as developed administratively by the Johnson Administration. Its full potential and direction will unfold during the Nixon Administration. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, George W. Romney, has endorsed the concept underlying the Program and announced Presidential approval of certain revisions in the administration of the Program.'