Bulldozing Cities for Green Space


After decades of growth and sprawl, the economic recession is forcing some cities to downsize and turn their abandoned neighborhoods back over to nature. Flint, Mich., the original home of General Motors now facing a staggering 20 percent unemployment rate, began bulldozing derelict outlying areas -- a move that might save the city from bankruptcy.

Now the U.S. government and several charities are reviewing such "shrink to survive" programs and are considering launching similar razzings in other areas. According to the Telegraph (via Inhabitat), 50 economically depressed cities could be "pruned" as it were and turned back into meadows and forest, potentially freeing up resources for the citizens who remain.

Flint instituted the project after local politicians forecasted the city needed a 40 percent reduction in size to stay in the black. Amenities were stretched too thin over the 34-square-mile area. Police patrols were irregular, roads crumbled and trash pickups had only several stops on long routes. A Michigan state law permitting local governments to buy empty property on the cheap allowed for the quick acquisition of abandoned land.

While giving up on a once bustling neighborhood is sad, actively returning an area to green space seems better than waiting for decay and crime. I'm just curious about how far the land restoration goes. How much money is left after buying and bulldozing to create these forests and meadows?

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