We’ve seen misguided urban renewal projects ruin vibrant neighborhoods. We’ve seen highways and railroad tracks cut cities off from their waterfronts. We’ve seen insane tunnel projects try to stitch them back together. We’ve observed cities like Youngstown Ohio try to trim their city limits and downsize, we’ve seen cities like Charlottesville Virginia tinker around with the idea of changing to a town. The latest? Razing the city. Detroit is demolishing tens of thousands of buildings to revitalize itself. What’s tricky with Detroit is that the viable areas tend to be on the outskirts, and the planners want to blow out a lot of what’s in the middle. Don’t the residents burn it all down on Devil’s Night anyway? That was a wrong thing to say. Sorry. Maybe all they need it Clint Eastwood. Lately all of the Detroit images I have in my head come from Gran Torino and Hung.
This article in yesterday’s New York Times is really interesting. I wonder what efforts, if any, will be made to recycle and reuse the materials from the buidings they demolish? I wonder if this is the answer, and if it’s not, what is. I wonder at what point in declining populations and deteriorating neighborhoods we decide to just pull the plug and give up. Whatever the result, it will be a landmark precedent in urban planning forever.