Program Description

The Urban Renewal Program is a statutory program that allows municipalities - through their urban renewal agencies - to revitalize substandard, decadent or blighted open areas for residential, commercial, industrial, business, governmental, recreational, educational, hospital or other purposes. Urban renewal projects help municipalities redevelop deteriorated areas by providing the economic environment needed to attract and support private investment. The Department of Community Services helps communities establish and strengthen urban renewal agencies and provides technical assistance in the development and implementation of urban renewal plans.

What is Urban Renewal pdf format of wiur.pdf

 How to Organize a Redevelopment Authority pdf format of howtora.pdf


Eligible Applicants

Redevelopment Authorities under M.G.L. Chapter 121B ; and Consolidated Community Development Departments under M.G.L. Chapter 43C.


Eligible Activities

In accordance with an urban renewal plan approved by DHCD, an urban renewal agency may undertake urban renewal activities, including.

  • Planning
  • Establishment of design and rehabilitation standards
  • Acquisition of land, including taking of land by eminent domain
  • Assembly of land into developable parcels and disposition for private redevelopment
  • Relocation of businesses and residential occupants
  • Demolition or rehabilitation of structures
  • Improvements to infrastructure
  • Issuance of bonds and borrowing of money
  • Receipt of grants and loans

These actions facilitate the public and private redevelopment needed to revitalize communities and stimulate sound growth.

Under M.G.L. c. 121B, DHCD may award Urban Revitalization Development Grant Program funding for the implementation of approved Urban Renewal Plans. For more information refer to the DHCD publication "Urban Revitalization Development Grant Program Application Guidelines ".


Selection Criteria

In order to approve a proposed Urban Renewal Plan, DHCD must determine that: without public involvement, the project/site would not be developed; the project will promote desired private investment; the plan for financing the project is sound; the project area is a decadent, substandard or blighted open area; the Urban Renewal Plan is complete; and the Urban Renewal Plan includes an approved Relocation Plan. For more information refer to the attached DHCD publication Urban Renewal Plan Preparation Guide.


How To Apply

Urban renewal agencies must obtain approval from DHCD before implementing an Urban Renewal Plan. Please refer to the DHCD publication Urban Renewal Plan Preparation Guide, for specific application instructions.


Additional Program Information

Urban Renewal Regulations doc format of regs.doc

Organizing for Economic Development doc format of organizing_ed.doc

Urban Renewal Plan Preparation Guide pdf format of Urban Renewal Plan Preparation Guide

Matrix of Organizational Characteristics pdf format of mooc.pdf


Workshops, Presentations and Training

Fitchburg: a Case Study of Revitalization Success doc format of Fitchburg; a Case Study of Revitalization Success
file size 7MB

The Renaissance of Greenfield: A Case Study of Revitalization Success doc format of The Renaissance of Greenfield: A Case Study of...
file size 1MB

Other Resources

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office (MEPA)

Massachusetts Historical Commission


Massachusetts Brownfields Redevelopment


Massachusetts Housing Partnership

MassWorks Infrastructure Program

State-Subsidized Environmental Insurance

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development



For additional information, please call the Division of Community Services at 617-573-1400.