US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive


The government is looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.

The radical experiment is the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint.

Having outlined his strategy to Barack Obama during the election campaign, Mr Kildee has now been approached by the US government and a group of charities who want him to apply what he has learnt to the rest of the country.

Mr Kildee said he will concentrate on 50 cities, identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution, an influential Washington think-tank, as potentially needing to shrink substantially to cope with their declining fortunes.

Most are former industrial cities in the "rust belt" of America's Mid-West and North East. They include Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis.

In Detroit, shattered by the woes of the US car industry, there are already plans to split it into a collection of small urban centres separated from each other by countryside.

"The real question is not whether these cities shrink – we're all shrinking – but whether we let it happen in a destructive or sustainable way," said Mr Kildee. "Decline is a fact of life in Flint. Resisting it is like resisting gravity."

Karina Pallagst, director of the Shrinking Cities in a Global Perspective programme at the University of California, Berkeley, said there was "both a cultural and political taboo" about admitting decline in America.

"Places like Flint have hit rock bottom. They're at the point where it's better to start knocking a lot of buildings down," she said.

Flint, sixty miles north of Detroit, was the original home of General Motors. The car giant once employed 79,000 local people but that figure has shrunk to around 8,000.

Unemployment is now approaching 20 per cent and the total population has almost halved to 110,000.

The exodus – particularly of young people – coupled with the consequent collapse in property prices, has left street after street in sections of the city almost entirely abandoned.

In the city centre, the once grand Durant Hotel – named after William Durant, GM's founder – is a symbol of the city's decline, said Mr Kildee. The large building has been empty since 1973, roughly when Flint's decline began.

Regarded as a model city in the motor industry's boom years, Flint may once again be emulated, though for very different reasons.

But Mr Kildee, who has lived there nearly all his life, said he had first to overcome a deeply ingrained American cultural mindset that "big is good" and that cities should sprawl – Flint covers 34 square miles.

He said: "The obsession with growth is sadly a very American thing. Across the US, there's an assumption that all development is good, that if communities are growing they are successful. If they're shrinking, they're failing."

But some Flint dustcarts are collecting just one rubbish bag a week, roads are decaying, police are very understaffed and there were simply too few people to pay for services, he said.

If the city didn't downsize it will eventually go bankrupt, he added.

Flint's recovery efforts have been helped by a new state law passed a few years ago which allowed local governments to buy up empty properties very cheaply.

They could then knock them down or sell them on to owners who will occupy them. The city wants to specialise in health and education services, both areas which cannot easily be relocated abroad.

The local authority has restored the city's attractive but formerly deserted centre but has pulled down 1,100 abandoned homes in outlying areas.

Mr Kildee estimated another 3,000 needed to be demolished, although the city boundaries will remain the same.

Already, some streets peter out into woods or meadows, no trace remaining of the homes that once stood there.

Choosing which areas to knock down will be delicate but many of them were already obvious, he said.

The city is buying up houses in more affluent areas to offer people in neighbourhoods it wants to demolish. Nobody will be forced to move, said Mr Kildee.

"Much of the land will be given back to nature. People will enjoy living near a forest or meadow," he said.

Mr Kildee acknowledged that some fellow Americans considered his solution "defeatist" but he insisted it was "no more defeatist than pruning an overgrown tree so it can bear fruit again".

Views: 527

Comment

You need to be a member of 12160 Social Network to add comments!

Join 12160 Social Network

Comment by Central Scrutinizer on June 14, 2012 at 9:16pm

long winded post.....lemme break it down....

"Brookings Institution"

nuff sed

Comment by Nathan on June 14, 2012 at 5:45pm

I wonder what fuels that bad boy........hmmm

Comment by Nathan on June 14, 2012 at 5:36pm

Ahh...the trigger word...'sustainability'. I didn't have to read any further.

http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=global-themes

 

Which cities in the world are already on board:

http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=11454

Comment by Amerikagulag on June 14, 2012 at 5:28pm

That's what Israel uses to get rid of those pesky Palestinian homes......That's what killed Rachael Corrie!

How apropo!

Comment by Citizen X74 on July 11, 2011 at 10:12pm
imagine floating cities.
Comment by SHTFgirl on July 11, 2011 at 5:45pm
So the banks make money, the city gets money, Mr. Kildee is certainly going to make alot of money, the people who had money and stayed are going to make money, but the people who lost everything get squat and will be forgotten.. Nice...
Comment by youhavetoforgiveme on May 23, 2011 at 6:54am
Survive....but to what? A system that will be too broke to even pay the interest on the US Treasury bond debt???
Comment by Dr Yuri Zhivago on February 9, 2011 at 9:07am
i used to think years ago it would be cool to have  cities in checkerboards buildings vs forests every other square

"Destroying the New World Order"

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE SITE!

mobile page

12160.info/m

12160 Administrators

 

TOP CONTENT THIS WEEK

Latest Activity

Vikki favorited Vikki's profile
15 minutes ago
Vikki left a comment for Vikki
"Hey Chris at the family Masters I'm sorry I didn't get back to you way sooner."
20 minutes ago
King Of Cups commented on James Roberts's blog post 5G and Coronavirus
"I would agree with you JR that there are too many cases in non 5G zones to say that it is the root…"
1 hour ago
King Of Cups favorited James Roberts's blog post 5G and Coronavirus
1 hour ago
Doc Vega posted a blog post

Holding Onto Wedding Rings

Holding Onto Wedding RingsIf I could live on promises and all those hollow lies I’d have never…See More
1 hour ago
James T. Kirk posted videos
2 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters posted a video

Coronavirus #3 THT in 10 min

__ What is the Extreme Health Academy? https://www.extremehealthacademy.com USE CODE: BERGMAN14 TO START YOUR FREE 14 DAY TRIAL. With the world becoming incr...
3 hours ago
Old Denmark commented on Old Denmark's photo
Thumbnail

Amazon's Plastic Problem

"It's allegedly been coming from Peru and now intering the Brazilian part. "
3 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters commented on Old Denmark's photo
Thumbnail

Amazon's Plastic Problem

"Where exactly is the Amazon in this picture?"
3 hours ago
James T. Kirk commented on James T. Kirk's video
Thumbnail

CDC Warns Americans to Prepare for the Worst

"California has had their first case of the virus in a person who had no connection to travel to…"
3 hours ago
James Roberts favorited Old Denmark's photo
3 hours ago
Old Denmark commented on James T. Kirk's video
Thumbnail

+18 | Battles for Syria | February 24th 2020 | More images from jihadists' offensive in East Idlib

"NATO is nothing but a corporate entity. I think that the so-called establishments/governments…"
3 hours ago
James T. Kirk commented on James T. Kirk's video
Thumbnail

Coronavirus Update: Iran Dep. Health Minister, Switzerland, Brazil, Kuwait, Austria, Croatia

"Thank you all for your comments, great insights from you all thank you!"
3 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters favorited Phyllis Maka's blog post The Human race being treated like cattle! Makes you wonder who are THEY really? because they certainly are NOT HUMAN at all.
3 hours ago
James T. Kirk commented on James T. Kirk's video
3 hours ago
Old Denmark commented on James T. Kirk's video
Thumbnail

+18 | Battles for Syria | February 24th 2020 | More images from jihadists' offensive in East Idlib

"Images of massive russian/syrian air offensive against the scum is emerging with heavy casualties…"
3 hours ago
Old Denmark favorited James T. Kirk's video
4 hours ago
Phyllis Maka posted blog posts
4 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters favorited Old Denmark's video
5 hours ago
rlionhearted_3 posted a status
"Good morning, for about 2 weeks I haven’t been able to share pics or comment with an IPad or IPod Touch."
5 hours ago

© 2020   Created by truth.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

content and site copyright 12160.info 2007-2019 - all rights reserved. unless otherwise noted