Cities Shrinking to Survive

"More cities in the developed world shrank than grew in the last three decades. More than 40 of those cities were in the United States, according to City Mayors, an urban affairs think tank," writes Gordon Young.

Dan Kildee believes, "shrinking cities must accept that they're not going to regain their lost populations anytime soon." Abandoned buildings must be leveled and replaced with parks, green and public spaces if new occupants cannot be found. "But demolitions are just part of the plan. He says the "genius" of his approach is that it implements a regional land use strategy that redistributes real-estate wealth."

It is an approach pioneered in Germany after reunification, where there was a mass exodus from eastern cities as people moved to the more prosperous west. Kildee has received considerable criticism for his plans, which appear to run "counter to America's can-do spirit, its reputation for boundless optimism." It is difficult for elected officials to back a plan that essentially requires citizens to lower their expectations.

"But popularity doesn't equal good policy," concludes Kildee.

Full Story: The Incredible Shrinking American City


building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
Currently on backorder
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!