US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive
By Tom Leonard in Flint, Michigan
Published: 6:30PM BST 12 Jun 2009
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.There is so much wrong with this whole idea and the premise on which it stands I don't know where to begin?
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.
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. [Anyone see a common theme amongst these cities?]
He [Mr. Kildee] 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." [Does he mean that people leaving the cities for lack of work is a good thing?]
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. [New London vs Kelo, anyone. Eminent domain, here they come.]
They could then knock them down [who pays for this?] or sell them on to owners who will occupy them [I thought they said no one lived there to begin with - hence buying them in the first place!]. The city wants to specialise in health and education services [For who? I thought everyone moved away?], both areas which cannot easily be relocated abroad.
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. [How can this possibly be cost effective?]
Who pays for the demo & turning everything back into meadows?
If they are buying homes in more affluent neighborhoods and relocating people from poorer neighborhoods, won't this mean the more affluent neighborhoods will fall into decay as its new residents are poorer than existing residents?
How would you feel if you lived in a more affluent neighborhood and the city relocated someone from a not-so-affluent neighborhood?
If they are using the acquired land, supposedly purchased where no one lived, to build healthcare & education facilities, who will these facilities serve - I thought everyone left?
If they are building NEW healthcare & education facilities (where no one lives) what happens to the old healthcare & education facilities? Technically, shouldn't these be under utilized since everyone has left? Do the tax payers have to then pay to tear down and/or rehab the old facilities or are these new facilities in addition to the current under utilized healthcare & education facilities?
I wanted to live where I could see pasture & not have neighbors looking over their fence into my backyard, so I actually bought my little slice of heaven.