Danishova

Idgit Watch

So much for hope: Obama considers razing depressed cities to the ground

Posted by danishova on June 12, 2009

Gee, if Obama believed Government Motors and his spending initiatives were going to rescue the economy, wouldn’t he take a wait-and-see approach before sending in the bulldozers? From the Telegraph U.K.:

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…

You know what I think? I think these initiatives should be left to the States and local governments and Obama and his Master Planners at the Federal Government should sod off.

UDPATE:

1. At Ace’s place, Slubog asks, So, How About that Stimulus, Huh?.  What are the odds that Barack will admit failure, scratch his profligate spending/deficit plan, and listen to some voices from the other side of the aisle?  He could start with slashing the corporate tax rate, but I don’t think his ego can take it.

2.  I missed this in the original story:

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…

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.

I wonder what price they are being offered to move into “more affluent” areas, and what their affluent neighbors think of people moving in next door with the help of subsidies they themselves did not benefit from.

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