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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Roosevelt and Rexford: Resettlement and its Results


The Greenbelt Towns program emerged in the late 1930s as a novel demonstration of suburban town planning in three communities: Greenbelt, Maryland; Greendale, Wisconsin; and Greenhills, Ohio. This paper discusses the scattered federal programs and policies from which the Greenbelt Towns emerged and briefly describes two other new town precedents, Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City and the Regional Planning Association of America’s involvement in Radburn, New Jersey. It further examines the physical and social development of the Greenbelt towns, the demonstration’s eventual failure, and how the program influenced and continues to shape government involvement in urban development and housing.

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