Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Save the cities? Bring in the bulldozers!

Just after being asked to review a proposed journal article about new urbanism, I've come across a recent news piece in the London Telegraph about one response to the crises of old urbanism: bulldozing swaths of wrecked streets and abandoned homes to shrink the size of rust-belt cities to more sustainable sizes.

Flint, Michigan, which has been eviscerated by the collapse of the auto industry and the related rise of poverty, crime, and despair, illustrates this trend with plans to contract its borders by "as much as 40 percent."

According to the article's author, Tom Leonard, so many houses have already been pulled down that, "some streets peter out into woods or meadows, no trace remaining of the homes that once stood there." One vision of a New Flint is to fortify smaller, more compact parts of town with health and education services and allow green spaces to flow between them.

The article cites research by the Brookings Institution that identifies 50 rust belt cities that may require similar retrenchment.

Read the article: US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive

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