Learning from Flint's Experience

In this essay from Places, architecture professor Wes Janz documents and ponders the economic decay of Flint, Michigan.

"Flint is fading. With the loss of so much of its industrial base, the economic picture for post-industrial Michigan is pitch-dark. There is less and less governmental support for schools, public transportation, family assistance. "We can no longer afford to live outside our means," said the new mayor in early 2010, and soon enough there were layoffs in the police and fire departments, the closing of fire stations, and a drop-off in garbage pick-up from weekly to biweekly. People are at the brink, ready to act out. On March 25, 2010, the day before the latest rounds of police and firefighter lay-offs were to be announced, nine houses were set on fire. According to a report by WEYI-TV, the fire battallon chief said: "All the fires seem to have been set intentionally. ... It also seems very suspicious, since the fires are happening the day before firefighter layoffs. I think they're trying to make a point and I think they're going about it in all the wrong ways."

Janz argues that many of the challenges faced by Flint are likely to be faced by many other cities in the near future, and that those cities should learn from Flint's experience.

Full Story: This Is Flint, Michigan



Roger & Me

If you were to look at one source to figure out what happened to Flint and other shrinking Midwest cities, watch the movie Roger & Me.

The town was built around an industrial revolution that left it for the cheap labor of globalization. All spatial problems stem from that vacuum.

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