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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    05.31.14 @ 08:17 PM
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    Default Bulldozing Smaller Failing Cities?

    I'll start with the article here:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/f...o-survive.html

    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.
    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.

    I have mixed feelings about this.

    I live in a state that has been over developed by almost 30%. I live in a county that does not have enough water to serve it's population, which has trippled since the great drought of the 1970, yet has not built a new damn nor secured new sources for drinking water. So the idea of tearing down empty homes has some appeal to me.

    On the flip side, this could be a great way to drive the poor out of certain cities. If you look at who uses the cities resources the most (hospitals, schools, police, courts) the poor are often over represented. Tearing these older homes keeps low income families from moving in.

    I have a counter suggestion:

    Bring back the Homestead Act and update it.

    The original gave people a plot of land for free and they had to live on it and farm the land for ten years. So why not lure young people into the communtiy with a fixer-upper home and an SBA loan? The city can still thin out some of the old houses but this would also spur a productive future. What happens when the economy finally turns around? Few people to tax means higher taxes for those who've stayed. You could see more people flee your city even though the rest of the nation is turning around.

    At the very least the cities who do this should keep the option of re-developement on the table.
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  2. #2
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 06:29 PM
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    Default

    Yeah, but if you bring people in, what are they going to do for work?

    I can certainly see turning back to the land places where there are empty warehouses and factories and Pizza Huts, but, unless it's vacant, I can't see tearing down housing to make the community more compact - kind of like defragging a city.

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk
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    05.31.14 @ 08:17 PM
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    Default

    If you bring people in with an SBA loan, they start their own business. Empty houses equal empty store space.

    I'm not saying that all those businesses will survive, most will not, but why not rebuild your community? Those who fail would just move away, those who have a successful business will stick around.

    I see both sides of the issue.

    Empty homes and buildings attract bad things, and are a blight on the community. I have no problem tearing them down because it's one less crack-house ,and one less problem for the police/fire department.
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  4. #4
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Default

    but who is to say that a city NEEDS to be bigger than it is or as big as it was?

    If a city has shrunk and is now overrun with buildings that are vacant, why not tear 'em down if indeed there is no one to come in and do anything with them because the city simply won't support it?

    I do like the idea of the Homestead Act. I would very much support anything that helps people get settled into homes and gives them startup capital for a new business. I think that's a MUCH better use of the kind of money the government is throwing at these bail outs and I think they would have very good long term results.

    I know that North Dakota has something in place where they will give you land if you move to certain parts of the state in hopes of attracting younger residents who can telecommute. Evidently their population is very old and for the most part everyone works in some sort of agriculture based job. They don't have a lot in the way of a "tech industry" and so they've come up with this idea. Works for me.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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  5. #5
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 11:51 AM
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    Default

    They should have started this project with New Orleans after Katrina.

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  6. #6
    Atomic Punk
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    My main concern is that they don't take steps to insure that the land can be re-activated for housing or industry should things change.

    As far as New Orleans goes, that is a different issue. The city sits in a giant bowl below sea level. The should have just taken the levies down and turned NO into a redneck Venice.

    As I said, I'm not against it, I just hope that they're thinking ahead.
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  7. #7
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 11:51 AM
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    Default

    N.O. is FAR from redneck, Axx. It's just something else.

    My thought was to fill the, "Bowl" up with diesel, find match

    Now that I think about it, a "Redneck" or a whatever Venice might not be a bad idea.

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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk Raldo's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 10:24 AM
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    Default

    Interesting concept. I guess for some very small towns that have nothing left, it probably is a good idea to bulldoze them.
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  9. #9
    Future's in the past....
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    Default

    After watching the latest episode of "Life After People" on History Channel last night and them showing the current state of many areas of Detroit, it might be suggested that larger cities be included as well!
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  10. #10
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Halen View Post
    They should have started this project with New Orleans after Katrina.

    HH<----N.O. still hasn't gotten its soul back yet---------------
    yeah no joke. Seems like God started it, all we had to do is follow through.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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