Richard Florida Tells Cities to Stop Shrinking

Richard Florida says that shrinking is not necessarily a good idea for cities like Detroit and Cleveland that are losing population, and that it could do "more harm than good."

Florida equates shrinking strategies with urban renewal, an idea he picked up from Roberta Brandes Gratz.

He writes:

"The record of schemes to revive cities by assembling and remaking neighborhoods is littered with disastrous unintended consequences. People thrown of out their homes, neighborhoods destroyed, historic structures leveled, and the community fabric of too many once great cities ripped to shreds."

He expresses the concern that emptying neighborhoods could end up relocating people from their homes only to hand that land over to developers for mega-projects.

Full Story: How Not to 'Save' a City



Different things

Reading this article, I think Richard Florida is missing the point of 'shrinking' cities. The problem with 'urban renewal' was that it often happened in reasonably viable neighborhoods and disrupted or destroyed them in the name of progress. What's being discussed in Detroit and other Rust Belt cities is cleaning up abandoned neighborhoods, where there is no viable community anymore and allow for a savings to the City by not having to provide services to an area that has become essentially a ghost town.

This isn't just a Rust Belt issue, there are many subdivisions around Las Vegas, the Central Valley of California and elsewhere that were built on speculation and now have only 1 or 2 families living in them. The same argument should apply, why should local governments have the burden of providing services to these areas? Take the 1 or 2 families remaining in an abandoned neighborhood and put them into houses built (or renovated) on abandoned properties in a neighborhood that still has some viability. That will remove the blight of those few abandoned properties in the viable neighborhood and reinforce the strength of the area.

Its triage, just as doctors evaluate patients for treatment based on the severity of their injuries and likelihood of survival, we need to take that approach to neighborhoods. If its beyond help, let it die and put money and resources into those communities that have a chance of revitalization.

Charles Buki nailed in this commentary he posted here a while back...

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