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An abandoned building in Washington, D.C. being converted into luxury condominiums. 2110 19th Street, NW.JPG
An abandoned building in Washington, D.C. being converted into luxury condominiums.

Redevelopment is any new construction on a site that has pre-existing uses. It represents a process of land development uses to revitalize the physical, economic and social fabric of urban space. [1]



Variations on redevelopment include:

Redevelopment projects can be small or large ranging from a single building to entire new neighborhoods or "new town in town" projects.

Redevelopment also refers to state and federal statutes which give cities and counties the authority to establish redevelopment agencies and give the agencies the authority to attack problems of urban decay. The fundamental tools of a redevelopment agency include the authority to acquire real property, the power of eminent domain, to develop and sell property without bidding and the authority and responsibility of relocating persons who have interests in the property acquired by the agency. The financing/funding of such operations might come from government grants, borrowing from federal or state governments and selling bonds and from Tax Increment Financing.

Other terms sometimes used to describe redevelopment include urban renewal (urban revitalization). While efforts described as urban revitalization often involve redevelopment, they do not always involve redevelopment as they do not always involve the demolition of any existing structures but may instead describe the rehabilitation of existing buildings or other neighborhood improvement initiatives.

A new example of other neighborhood improvement initiatives is the funding mechanism associated with high carbon footprint air quality urban blight. Assembly Bill AB811 is the State of California's answer to funding renewable energy and allows cities to craft their own sustainability action plans. These cutting edge action plans needs the funding structure; which can easily come forward through redevelopment funding.

Urban renewal

Some redevelopment projects and programs have been incredibly controversial including the Urban Renewal program in the United States in the mid-twentieth century or the urban regeneration program in Great Britain. Controversy usually results either from the use of eminent domain, from objections to the change in use or increases in density and intensity on the site or from disagreement on the appropriate use of taxpayer funds to pay for some element of the project. Urban redevelopment in the United States has been controversial because it can displace poor and lower middle class residents, often transferring residents' land and homes to developers for free or a below-market-value price. This is done on the condition that the developer will use that land to construct new commercial and residential developments.

The residents displaced by redevelopment are often undercompensated, [2] and some (notably month-to-month tenants and business owners) are not compensated at all. Historically, redevelopment agencies have been buying many properties in redevelopment areas for prices below fair market value, or even below the agencies' own appraisal figures because the displaced people are often unaware of their legal rights and lack the will and the funds to mount a proper legal defense in a valuation trial.[ citation needed ] Those who do so usually recover more in compensation than what is offered by the redevelopment agencies.

The controversy over misuse of eminent domain for redevelopment reached a climax in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, which ruled that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. [3] The Kelo decision was widely denounced and remains the subject of severe criticism. Remedial legislation to restrict the use of eminent domain for private development has been enacted or introduced in a number of states.

Golf course redevelopment

Golf course redevelopment, also known as golf course conversion is a real estate niche, in which investors purchase failing golf courses. Investors then subdivide the golf course into individual plots of lands. They then resell the plots of land for builders, or build on the plots then resell it to residential home buyers. This process is usually done with the assistance of a real estate broker.

The main challenge of this niche is the difficulties that investors face in requesting a variance from cities. [4]

Notable examples

North America:



Central America:

See also

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Poletown East is a neighborhood area of Detroit, Michigan, bordering the enclave city of Hamtramck. The area was named after the Polish immigrants who originally lived in the area. A portion of residential area known as Poletown became the General Motors Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant in 1981 with those residents relocated by General Motors and the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck which claimed eminent domain in order to make way for a new automobile plant.

Tax increment financing

Tax increment financing (TIF) is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects in many countries, including the United States. The original intent of a TIF program is to stimulate private investment with a blighted area that has been designated to be in need of economic revitalization. Similar or related value capture strategies are used around the world.

Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme

The Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme, or SERS for short, is an urban redevelopment strategy employed by the Housing and Development Board in Singapore in maintaining and upgrading public housing flats in older estates in the city-state. Launched in August 1995, it involves a small selection of specific flats in older estates which undergo demolition and redevelopment to optimise land use, as opposed to upgrading of existing flats via the Main Upgrading and Interim Upgrading Programmes. To date, 80 SERS sites have been announced, of which 65 were completed. The implementation of SERS also depends on the availability of replacement sites and the Government’s financial resources. It will be replaced by Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) in 20 years time.

Berman v. Parker, 348 U.S. 26 (1954), is a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that interpreted the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court voted 8–0 to hold that private property could be taken for a public purpose with just compensation. The case laid the foundation for the Court's later important public use cases, Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff, 467 U.S. 229 (1984) and Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005).

Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development. In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

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Slum clearance in the United States has been used as an urban renewal strategy to regenerate derelict or run-down districts, often to be replaced with alternative developments or new housing. Early calls were made during the 19th century, although mass clearance did not occur until after World War II with the introduction of the Housing Act of 1949 which offered federal subsidies towards redevelopments. The scheme ended in 1974 having helped over 2000 projects and cost in excess of $50 billion.


  1. Caves, R. W. (2004). Encyclopedia of the City . Routledge. pp.  556. ISBN   9780415252256.
  2. Alexandre, Michele (2008). "'Love Don't Live Here Anymore': Economic Incentives for a More Equitable Model of Urban Redevelopment". Rochester, NY.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. Kelo v. City of New London , 545 U.S. 469 (2005).
  4. Salkin, Patricia E. (2007). "Ensuring Continuing Community Amenities Through Golf Course Redevelopment". Real Estate Law Journal. 35: 628.