Dozens of U.S. cities may have entire neighborhoods bulldozed as part of drastic "shrink to survive" proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.
The idea was first presented to President Obama during his campaign by Dan Kildee, treasurer of the Michigan county that includes automaker center Flint.
Local politicians estimate that the town must now contract 40 percent in order to concentrate the dwindling population and local services into a more practical area.
Such a “contraction” would involve razing large sections of the city, creating countryside where houses and commercial buildings once stood. Kildee has been approached by the White House to research applying the strategy to 50 additional U.S. cities.
"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," Kildee.
"Decline is a fact of life in Flint. Resisting it is like resisting gravity."
The cities Kildee will look at were identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution. Most are former industrial cities in the "rust belt" of America's Mid-West and North East, including Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis.
Indianapolis and Little Rock, Ark., have recently set up land banks, and other cities are in the process of doing so.
“Shrinkage is moving from an idea to a fact,” Karina Pallagst, director of the Shrinking Cities in a Global Perspective Program at the University of California, Berkeley told The New York Times.
“There’s finally the insight that some cities just don’t have a choice.”
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