Struggling Cities Demolish Their Way to Growth

Saddled with thousands of vacant buildings, and little hope of recovering lost population, cities such as Baltimore, Buffalo, and Cleveland are pursuing large-scale demolitions. Shrinking cities are changing the very practice of urban planning.
danielle_blue / flickr

"Large-scale destruction is well known in Detroit, but it is also underway in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Buffalo and others at a total cost of more than $250 million," writes Timothy Williams. "Officials are tearing down tens of thousands of vacant buildings, many habitable, as they seek to stimulate economic growth, reduce crime and blight, and increase environmental sustainability."

"The continuing struggles of former manufacturing centers have fundamentally altered urban planning, traditionally a discipline based on growth and expansion," he continues. "Today, it is also about disinvestment patterns to help determine which depopulated neighborhoods are worth saving; what blocks should be torn down and rebuilt; and based on economic activity, transportation options, infrastructure and population density, where people might best be relocated. Some even focus on returning abandoned urban areas into forests and meadows."

Full Story: Blighted Cities Prefer Razing to Rebuilding

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