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  1. #1
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    US Cities to Be Bulldozed

    US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive - Telegraph

    US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive

    Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic "shrink to survive" proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.

    The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

    Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.

    The radical experiment is the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint.

    Having outlined his strategy to Barack Obama during the election campaign, Mr Kildee has now been approached by the US government and a group of charities who want him to apply what he has learnt to the rest of the country.

    Mr Kildee said he will concentrate on 50 cities, identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution, an influential Washington think-tank, as potentially needing to shrink substantially to cope with their declining fortunes.

    Most are former industrial cities in the "rust belt" of America's Mid-West and North East. They include Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis.

    In Detroit, shattered by the woes of the US car industry, there are already plans to split it into a collection of small urban centres separated from each other by countryside.

    "The real question is not whether these cities shrink we're all shrinking but whether we let it happen in a destructive or sustainable way," said Mr Kildee. "Decline is a fact of life in Flint. Resisting it is like resisting gravity."

    Karina Pallagst, director of the Shrinking Cities in a Global Perspective programme at the University of California, Berkeley, said there was "both a cultural and political taboo" about admitting decline in America.

    "Places like Flint have hit rock bottom. They're at the point where it's better to start knocking a lot of buildings down," she said.

    Flint, sixty miles north of Detroit, was the original home of General Motors. The car giant once employed 79,000 local people but that figure has shrunk to around 8,000.

    Unemployment is now approaching 20 per cent and the total population has almost halved to 110,000.

    The exodus particularly of young people coupled with the consequent collapse in property prices, has left street after street in sections of the city almost entirely abandoned.

    In the city centre, the once grand Durant Hotel named after William Durant, GM's founder is a symbol of the city's decline, said Mr Kildee. The large building has been empty since 1973, roughly when Flint's decline began.

    Regarded as a model city in the motor industry's boom years, Flint may once again be emulated, though for very different reasons.

    But Mr Kildee, who has lived there nearly all his life, said he had first to overcome a deeply ingrained American cultural mindset that "big is good" and that cities should sprawl Flint covers 34 square miles.

    He said: "The obsession with growth is sadly a very American thing. Across the US, there's an assumption that all development is good, that if communities are growing they are successful. If they're shrinking, they're failing."

    But some Flint dustcarts are collecting just one rubbish bag a week, roads are decaying, police are very understaffed and there were simply too few people to pay for services, he said.

    If the city didn't downsize it will eventually go bankrupt, he added.

    Flint's recovery efforts have been helped by a new state law passed a few years ago which allowed local governments to buy up empty properties very cheaply.

    They could then knock them down or sell them on to owners who will occupy them. The city wants to specialise in health and education services, both areas which cannot easily be relocated abroad.

    The local authority has restored the city's attractive but formerly deserted centre but has pulled down 1,100 abandoned homes in outlying areas.

    Mr Kildee estimated another 3,000 needed to be demolished, although the city boundaries will remain the same.

    Already, some streets peter out into woods or meadows, no trace remaining of the homes that once stood there.

    Choosing which areas to knock down will be delicate but many of them were already obvious, he said.

    The city is buying up houses in more affluent areas to offer people in neighbourhoods it wants to demolish. Nobody will be forced to move, said Mr Kildee.

    "Much of the land will be given back to nature. People will enjoy living near a forest or meadow," he said.

    Mr Kildee acknowledged that some fellow Americans considered his solution "defeatist" but he insisted it was "no more defeatist than pruning an overgrown tree so it can bear fruit again".
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

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  2. #2
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    I tend to agree with the assertion that some sections of many cities should be razed because they'll never be cleaned up otherwise, and a lot of the blighted areas are simply not salvagable...

    But is that none of the Federal Government's business - it should be up to the cities' residents and property owners to decide what should be demolished and raise the money to do it.

    Also, what the heck are you going to do with the hundreds of thousands of people who live there? Just moving them isn't the solution, because they will to a large degree take the blight with them - many of them don't have the money or the inclination to properly maintain their homes and businesses.

    I've also said it many times before: You cannot raise the economic level with retail businesses and consumers, because they produce nothing. You have to have some sort of industry that produces tangible products and services to keep things going.

    The Federal Government should concentrate on luring industry back from China at all costs, even 100% tax exemptions for industrial businesses that produce products that can sell abroad not just consumed locally. The liberals have a blind spot when it comes to tax incentives, because that wouldn't be "fair". BS, only people pay taxes anyway - Businesses just pass it along to their customers.

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  3. #3
    Car 4's Avatar
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    The intellectual in me says....Hmmm, maybe not a bad idea given what is happening in some of those communities.

    The cop in me says....The sooner, the better!!

    The American in me says...we have come back from worse than this...so lets think this over carefully.


    Car 4
    I would like my country back. I used to believe that one man could never destroy this country. Not so sure anymore!

  4. #4
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    Short-cut to Collectives ?

    Who will make the selections? Is there a new Dr. Mengele out there? Anyone heard from Albert Speer lately? Does anyone remember the SS or NKVD, and will there be a new enforcer making people vanish at 0300 your time? Joe Stalin would be proud to endorse this and Robert Mugabe probably did.

    Oh gosh. Who is going to hand out and get the:

    1) law firrm contracts to condemn areas, create special land courts
    2) contract private security as "special police" for removal of occupants
    3) demolition contracts, perhaps the Chinese Army will bid for 2 and 3.
    4) the haz-mat cleanups
    5) the re-construction - perhaps a NEW 5 year plan?
    6) select those who move in
    7) "resettlement" the rest can go to camps or returned to carbon status
    8) declare the official language for whatever is left

    For sure: the Fed govt will be the owner of the land and whatever inhabits that terrain.

    Sounds a bit like "Lebensraum" circa 1930's and 1940's, or Soviet Russia 1930's, or Mao's Great Cultural Revolution. Lidice and Warsaw come to mind........circa 1938 onward. Zimbabwe is presently struggling against "imperialism".........

    The most blighted city is Washington DC and the overhaul should start there. Certain parasitic carbon entiities and viruses with law degrees, forked tongues, and elitist behavior require removal. Structures are sound and require dedicated attention by long-term owners. The owners described in the US Constitution should take it from there.

    This weeks hit list of words for The Commissariat for Corrected Definitions:
    eminent domaiin, property rights, Federal Oath of Office, citizen, due process, ownership....

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    Old People, like me, may not be around to witness the destruction of our Nation. The rest of you may not survive the collapse. We all have the sworn duty to prevent it.

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  5. #5
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    The article says nobody is being forced to move. The only areas dozed are vacant. I don't have a problem with that.

    However, how about Michigan and Flint lowering taxes and creating incentives for businesses? Surely they could be more helpful for businesses, especially factories, to return. While it would be a short term loss of revenue, it would create jobs and attract residents, and thereby increase revenue over the long term.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

    I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones

    Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman

 

 

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