Russ Gibb at Random

incredible shrinking cities

June 18, 2009

I read recently that some of the folks up in Flint had been talking to the Obama Administration about the idea of turning Flint into a city that has little cities within a big city. In other words, much of Flint is in decaying disarray. The city has lost a lot of citizens. There are hundreds of abandoned homes. Now they’re suggesting that they take great blighted plots of the city of Flint and downsize it, make green belts, and put new buildings into selective areas like planned little communities, which might rejuvenate them.

It has been suggested that Detroit may be a candidate for this type of shrinking of cities.The Obama Administration has picked up on it and I frankly think it’s not a bad idea. Although, I would like to remind people that Dearborn’s Mayor Hubbard tried that years and years ago when he attempted to condemn the Salina area around the Ford Motor Company, and make it into a green belt industrial park. The citizens of that area decided that it was an attack on their culture because many of them were minority folks who lived in the area. So they took it to court and they beat the Mayor.

Downsizing is not a totally American idea. They have been doing similar things in Europe for many years. If you look at the United Nations Habitat sites , they talk about shrinking cities and their idea of putting more bureaucratic planned cities throughout the world. Well, let’s see what happens.

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4 Comment(s)

The City of Dearborn is doing it again, go look at the Eugene/Porath Neighborhood. The city is buying up all the property land banking it for future development (industrial maybe).

--by Milwood Fordson on 6/18/09   Lives: Dearborn  

smaller cities.. tighter neighborhoods.. closer families..sounds lovely -- just need industry/jobs to provide the incomes for the folks that'll live there.. otherwise just small empty cities instead of big empty cities

--by Kimberly on 6/18/09   Lives: Michigan  

It really is a good idea in concept. This way each area can concentrate on each area's individuals problems rather then all the money goes to the downtown area etc. I've always felt that this is the way to go with Detroit. I also feel it would better for the poeple that run the city (or little cities) to have to live in that area rather then all of them living in the best area (like Detroit where 90% of the people running the city live in one neighborhood).

--by Detroit can be 10 crappy cities this way on 6/21/09   Lives: Detroit area  

Russ, honestly

You claim that Mayor Hubbard tried to make the South end a "green belt industrial park." You have got to be kidding me. I dont think Mayor Hubbard would have even agreed with that re-writing of history- he was pretty open about making the whole area industrial, but a "green belt." He had been trying to do it since the early 1950s, quite notoriously- denying certificates of occupancy, building permits, demoing houses- etc etc(not unlike what this city does today sadly).

Also you state, "Downsizing is not a totally American idea." Again, what are you talking about? The only reason we are talking about "downsizing" is because we have been over expanding our urban and inner ring suburbs for last 50 years! The sprawling mcmansions are the problem in the first place!

--by Nick on the eastside on 6/22/09   Lives: Dearborn  

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