Shrinking Cities, On Purpose

Flint, Michigan is another ailing city that is considering demolishing entire neighborhoods and returning them to nature as a way to save the rest of the city from blight.

Planned shrinkage became a workable concept in Michigan a few years ago, when the state changed its laws regarding properties foreclosed for delinquent taxes. Before, these buildings and land tended to become mired in legal limbo, contributing to blight. Now they quickly become the domain of county land banks, giving communities a powerful tool for change.

Indianapolis and Little Rock, Ark., have recently set up land banks, and other cities are in the process of doing so. 'Shrinkage is moving from an idea to a fact,' said Karina Pallagst, director of the Shrinking Cities in a Global Perspective Program at the University of California, Berkeley. 'There's finally the insight that some cities just don't have a choice.'

While the shrinkage debate has been simmering in Flint for several years, it suddenly gained prominence last month with a blunt comment by the acting mayor, Michael K. Brown, who talked at a Rotary Club lunch about 'shutting down quadrants of the city.'"

Thanks to Carl Morgan

Full Story: An Effort to Save Flint, Mich., by Shrinking It

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