Bulldoze Dying Cities?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive
    Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic "shrink to survive" proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.

    By Tom Leonard in Flint, Michigan
    Published: 6:30PM BST 12 Jun 2009

    A boarded up house sits for sale in Michigan. Photo: GETTY The government 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".

  2. This almost reads like a parody. Instead of just tearing these cities down, why not use a more productive approach? For example, make them enterprise zones with no taxes, no unions and very little in the way of regulation. Open them up to any chinese immigrants who want to come here. See what happens.

    Of course, liberal democrats would rather bulldoze them than cut taxes.
  3. how about a basic fixup and giving the houses away to senior citizens, students, homeless, businesses with 5-10 years property and school tax free?

    And bulldoze some of the worse properties to make local parks for these free city zones?
  4. It is a good idea. Like everything else, there are a plethora of good ideas out there but no one will do anything until the ship is at the bottom of the sea.

    Most of Schenectady is a shit hole after the city fathers squeezed every last dime out of GE and Ge fought assesments and tore down most of the buildings when downsizing, along with spreading out operations.

    Speaking of immigrants I think Schenectady is a resettlement area for Guyanese. regardless of ethnic group that would like to work, if there aren't even menial jobs, no one can make it.
  5. First order of business is to operate a decent school in Detroit.
  6. Yeah give them away to a bunch of bums. Homeless people love to garden and landscape yards, cut grass, paint houses, make shit look pretty etc.
  7. Cesko


    :D :D :D :D :D
  8. Ezzy



    Here we stand
    Like an Adam and an Eve
    The Garden of Eden
    Two fools in love
    So beautiful and strong
    The birds in the trees
    Are smiling upon them
    From the age of the dinosaurs
    Cars have run on gasoline
    Where, where have they gone?
    Now, it's nothing but flowers

    There was a factory
    Now there are mountains and rivers
    you got it, you got it

    We caught a rattlesnake
    Now we got something for dinner
    we got it, we got it

    There was a shopping mall
    Now it's all covered with flowers
    you've got it, you've got it

    If this is paradise
    I wish I had a lawnmower
    you've got it, you've got it

    Years ago
    I was an angry young man
    I'd pretend
    That I was a billboard
    Standing tall
    By the side of the road
    I fell in love
    With a beautiful highway
    This used to be real estate
    Now it's only fields and trees
    Where, where is the town
    Now, it's nothing but flowers
    The highways and cars
    Were sacrificed for agriculture
    I thought that we'd start over
    But I guess I was wrong

    Once there were parking lots
    Now it's a peaceful oasis
    you got it, you got it

    This was a Pizza Hut
    Now it's all covered with daisies
    you got it, you got it

    I miss the honky tonks,
    Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
    you got it, you got it

    And as things fell apart
    Nobody paid much attention
    you got it, you got it

    I dream of cherry pies,
    Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
    you got it, you got it

    We used to microwave
    Now we just eat nuts and berries
    you got it, you got it

    This was a discount store,
    Now it's turned into a cornfield
    you got it, you got it

    Don't leave me stranded here
    I can't get used to this lifestyle
  9. It's cheaper to tear down then repair.

    If you've watched the History channel's show, "After Man", which documents what would occur if man vanished, you'd recognize that the burnt out sections of these older cities are well on their way.

    Many blocks of buildings would require tens of thousands just to get up to code, and once repaired, are quickly stripped down by looters. Literally, No One will invest here. (no outside capital, and the residents won't even invest the friggin time to earn a high school diploma). It may sounds extreme, but in reality there is no alternative but to let nature do the same thing at a slower pace.
  10. TGregg


    LMAO! Yeah, they'll get right on that! Is there anybody here who thinks that the left are not the happiest people around when folks are miserable, out of work and depending on Uncle Sam for food, housing and health care? More parasites and less people who can take care of themselves equals more votes for democrats.
    #10     Jun 14, 2009