Sat Jun 13th, 2009 at 01:40:48 PM EST
This remarkable story courtesy of the Torygraph.
US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive - Telegraph
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 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.
Even allowing for some hyperbole - I'd like to see some confirmation of this story, although Drews comment about burnt out row houses suggests it's not exaggeration - where did all those people go?
What happened to them?
And have we been getting the full news picture? I was talking to an editor in the US who said that he'd been trapped in a riot near his home in Indianapolis. When you have entire areas going to seed, it's possible this wasn't a one off.
Foreclosures continue at a rate beyond that of a financial Katrina.
U.S. Foreclosure Filings Top 300,000 as Bank Seizures Loom - Bloomberg.com
June 11 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. foreclosure filings surpassed 300,000 for the third straight month in May and may hit a record 1.8 million by the first half of the year, RealtyTrac Inc. said.
A total of 321,480 properties received a default or auction notice or were repossessed last month, up 18 percent from a year earlier, the Irvine, California-based seller of default data said today in a statement. One in 398 U.S. households received a filing last month.
"The foreclosure bucket is filling faster than it's emptying," Jay Brinkmann, chief economist of the Washington- based Mortgage Bankers Association, said in an interview. "It will continue through next quarter at least."
As a magnificent testimony to the American Dream these numbers speak for themselves. But they can't even begin to touch on the human stories they represent.
Between three and four million households will be made homeless this year, while the areas they lived in may be bulldozed back to nature.
So I'll ask again - where do these people go? What happens to them now?