Letting Nature Take its Course

Facing urban decline and abandonment, a growing list of U.S. cities may be dramatically accelerating the process by returning vast swathes of land to nature.

Flint, Michigan may be the first of dozens of ailing American cities to undergo major surgery: the local government is looking at bulldozing up to 40% of the buildings and letting cleared areas revert to nature.

The Federal government is asking the scheme's architect Dan Kildee, (treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint) to apply the plan to as many as 50 (mostly rust-belt) cities which were recently identified in a Brookings Institution study, including 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."'

Full Story: US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive



US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive

A fundamental "flaw" with American capitalism is need for "growth". The problem with the "growth" mentality is that you can only sell so much. Once you achieve market saturation, you need to adjust how you operate your business to operate in a no-growth environment. Unfortunately we don't do that in either business the business world or in land-use planning.

For example, in one town that I know of there is a failed shopping center. Walmart built a new store (growth) on "vacant" land immediately adjacent to the failed shopping center (market saturation). From the planning perspective, the shopping center should have been bulldozed and Walmart could have been coerced into building on the location of the old shopping center (living within the limits of the "market") instead of urbanizing land that could have been preserved for its habitat value.

PS: Yes this gets into the "evils" of regulating free enterprise.

Capitalism And Growth

A fundamental "flaw" with American capitalism is need for "growth".

You might enjoy this short white paper:

The Fallacy that Capitalism Requires Growth

When I advocate for shorter work hours and the slower rate of economic growth that they would bring, I often hear this objection: it is impossible because capitalism requires growth to maintain the rate of profit.

This objection is a leftover from an outdated Marxist ideology that has no intellectual merit. But the objection is common enough that it is worthwhile to take a bit of time to see why it is wrong.

Mainstream Economists On Growth

In the nineteenth century, the classical capitalist economists agreed that growth would ultimately come to an end when all investment opportunities were exhausted.

more at

Charles Siegel

Capitalism and Growth

Good article.

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