NO GREATER challenge faces America than the future of its cities.
The problems are deeply rooted. They are as old as the cities from which they grow.
We have learned that difficulties borne from generations of decay and neglect do not yield to quick or easy solutions.
That is why men of vision and good will have committed themselves to find the right answers. We know those answers can be found.
Today we renew and continue that search. I am pleased to announce that one of our most distinguished statesmen and economists--Senator Paul H. Douglas--will head a Commission of distinguished citizens to make the thorough study of our cities and urban areas I recommended to the Congress in my 1965 message on the American city and which the Congress approved in 1966.
Under Senator Douglas' direction the Commission will report to the President and to the Congress. Its charter is twofold:
First: to work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and conduct a penetrating review of zoning, housing and building codes, taxation and development standards. These processes have not kept pace with the times. Stunting growth and opportunity, they are the springboards from which many of the ills of urban life flow.
Second: to recommend the solutions, particularly those ways in which the efforts of the Federal Government, private industry, and local communities can be marshsled to increase the supply of low-cost decent housing.
I am delighted that Senator Douglas will continue to serve his country in this promising and challenging assignment.
This Commission is a valuable new addition to our Government-wide efforts--led by Robert Weaver, our able Secretary of Housing and Urban Development--to help arrest the growing blight of our central cities and to bring about an urban renaissance that will make the American city a better place for all to live and work.
I urge all citizens to cooperate and assist the Commission in its vital work.