Next Steps for Shrinking Cities: Results of the Planetizen Brainstorm


Publication:
Date: 
July 9, 2009
Bulldoze? Densify? Walk away? There are many ways cities can react to shrinking populations and abandoned neighborhoods. Planetizen readers decide which ways are the best.

It's hard to think about Detroit these days without picturing empty streets, cracked windows, and chaos -- essentially, a broken city. In fact, if the idea of a "broken city" needed a poster child, Detroit would be high in the running. Between 2000 and 2007, the city lost more than 30,000 people. More than 15,000 homes are currently under bank ownership. More than 3,100 homes were torn down in 2008.

Detroit is clearly in a tough place right now, but it's definitely not alone. The recession and housing market crash have weakened many cities, leaving large sections of town that are virtually abandoned. Empty homes and businesses line what were once living streets but are now ghost neighborhoods with little prospect of coming back to life...