Models for Detroit: Belfast, Bilbao and Turin

Detroit can come back using the model of European countries that downsized and densified, restructured their industries and created incubators for innovation, say Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley of Brookings.
January 15, 2010, 9am PST | Tim Halbur
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Katz and Bradley write, "Even if Detroit were to rebuild its economy, it would still face a fundamental obstacle to recovery. It is just too big for itself, with a landscape that even locals compare to postwar Dresden. Nearly one-third of the land in the city is empty or unused, and some 80,000 city homes are vacant. European cities faced a similar challenge. After decades of population and job loss, they were saddled with an excess of housing and too much unproductive, polluted, or vacant land. This derelict land was as much an economic problem as a physical one, depressing property values and repelling new investments. So these cities reconfigured themselves into denser communities, recycling polluted industrial lands, laying down new rail and transit infrastructure, and investing in projects that created demand not only for particular parcels, but also for the wider urban area."

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Published on Thursday, January 14, 2010 in The New Republic
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