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  'US Cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive' (search mode)
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Author Topic: 'US Cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive'  (Read 4567 times)
12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« on: June 13, 2009, 04:53:57 pm »


^^^^^

No seriously, I agree.  This is bullsh**t.  Demolishing the central city to cater to the needs of suburbanites really worked wonders the first time.
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12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 06:49:56 pm »


^^^^^

No seriously, I agree.  This is bullsh**t.  Demolishing the central city to cater to the needs of suburbanites really worked wonders the first time.

This isn't about destroying the city center of Flint. Flint hardly even has a city center. This is about managed decline, removing previously developed areas that are simply abandoned today. That's not an issue in most cities, but cities which have contracted dramatically and no longer serve an economic purpose (and so will not grow again) should be encouraged to do things like this.

Cities die. Most cities don't, but some cities do. Their reasons for existing disappear, and they have to be allowed to contract or disappear along with those reasons. Some major, major cities of the past are entirely gone now. The US is young and has for a long time had a growing economy everywhere in the country. But that's not true any more; the glory days of some US cities are now passed. And we have to help them decline with grace rather than become abandoned cesspools.

Yes, but Flint has considerable suburbs... ask Michael Moore about that.  What they ought to be doing is coming up with ways to attract people back into the central city.  And yes, I am aware of how bad things are in Flint, and the some structures are going to have to go regardless.

However, this is the same mentality that led to mass suburbanization to begin with.  "Tear them down.  They're just slums.  We need space to build another massive single floor office complex, urban mall, and a super highway."

This is about cities having to continually give ground to people in the suburbs who, by in all rights, really shouldn't be living there anyway.  And I am not saying that because I don't like suburbs on some kind of principle.  Government money created the suburbs.  Government money made it so that people could work in the cities without having to live there.  Government money destroyed whole neighborhood and put up housing projects in their places, making the central city an even less attractive place to live.  And now people in the suburbs want to government to fix all the problems that they created for themselves by moving out to suburbia, while they bitch about the cities getting a dime.

It's a joke.
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12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2009, 06:51:17 pm »

I really wouldn't miss New York if they ever decided to tear it down. However, I think they should destroy suburbs as well and move eveybody back into the country. Believe me, I have always hated big cities.

Hah hah!  Thank you Pol Pot!

When Opebo and I can laugh together you know its a special moment.
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12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 07:10:52 pm »

I actually just had a look at the population figures.  Flint seems to have lost about 40% of its population since 1970.  While not insignificant, by a long shot, that is actually not unusual for a city in the industrial Midwest, and is fewer people, percentage wise, than the City of Pittsburgh has lost.  While recovery would be difficult, it would not be impossible.

"Urban Renewal" is bad enough for a city.  If they went through and demolished whole neighborhoods while putting nothing int their place, it would be devastating, and Flint would never recover.  The criminal element in the city would just use the "natural space" to their advantage, as they did when Pittsburgh tore down the Hill District because it was "too run down" and "needed to be opened up".  The only thing scarier than walking a block where you know there is crime is walking the same block if you know no one at all lives there.  Criminals thrive off of that.

This would also only help fuel the car culture of suburbanites, since large open stretches of road mean speeding cars, which is only worse for pedestrians.  Believe it or not, congestion is good for a city, because it creates a positive atmosphere for pedestrians, which helps out in terms of neighborhood formation.  It also means more people just give up and say "lets go back to the city, there are some nice things there anyway" which is happening more and more these days.
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12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2009, 07:30:51 pm »
« Edited: June 13, 2009, 07:33:14 pm by Supersoulty »


^^^^^

No seriously, I agree.  This is bullsh**t.  Demolishing the central city to cater to the needs of suburbanites really worked wonders the first time.

This isn't about destroying the city center of Flint. Flint hardly even has a city center. This is about managed decline, removing previously developed areas that are simply abandoned today. That's not an issue in most cities, but cities which have contracted dramatically and no longer serve an economic purpose (and so will not grow again) should be encouraged to do things like this.

Cities die. Most cities don't, but some cities do. Their reasons for existing disappear, and they have to be allowed to contract or disappear along with those reasons. Some major, major cities of the past are entirely gone now. The US is young and has for a long time had a growing economy everywhere in the country. But that's not true any more; the glory days of some US cities are now passed. And we have to help them decline with grace rather than become abandoned cesspools.

Yes, but Flint has considerable suburbs... ask Michael Moore about that.  What they ought to be doing is coming up with ways to attract people back into the central city.  And yes, I am aware of how bad things are in Flint, and the some structures are going to have to go regardless.

However, this is the same mentality that led to mass suburbanization to begin with.  "Tear them down.  They're just slums.  We need space to build another massive single floor office complex, urban mall, and a super highway."

No; if the city disappears, the suburbs disappear, too. There is no place for the suburbs without a central city. You're deliberating misreading this as an anti-urban policy; it's not. It's about reinventing what were once relatively large cities as medium-sized towns. You can't do that with the ruins of a big city sitting around you. Like I said, there is nothing that will attract people back to Flint. Flint no longer has an economic purpose as a city of substantial size, and you can't just create a purpose out of thin air, not when there are hundreds of similarly sized cities that actually have purposes out there attracting the same people Flint would be competing for. Flint has to downsize, and the only way to do that is by bulldozing.

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Look, I hate suburban sprawl. But that's not what this about. At all.

Also, I strongly disagree with you about the government destroying cities. It was certainly the case that the Interstate System laid the foundation for suburban sprawl, but that wasn't the intent, and the Interstates have good things going for them, too.

I addressed your other points in my other post, but:

#1 If you already agree that sprawl is disgusting then name one good aspect about the interstate highway system that was not already being achieved by other means, such as trains, street cars, etc.

#2 I can name a huge list of things that the Federal government did to destroy the cities.  First, the FHA was created for the explicit purpose of "uncrowding" the cities.  After the war, they gave out an artificially cheap, government subsidized loan to almost anyone who wanted one, and then created videos promoting suburbia as this wonderful haven, compared to the dingy and crime riding cities, thus promoting an image of urban life as something negative.  Of course, they never cracked down on the practice of "Red Lining" which all but completely assured that they only people left in the cities would be poor, and probably colored (that definition at the time applying to a large variety of people, some of who we would now consider White).

Then came the interstates, which hadn't started out as something really intended to expand sprawl and depopulate the cities, but that was the effect, and through the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's the interstates were expanded around the cities in loops and access lines, specifically intended to further facilitate urban exodus.

Then came "Urban Renewal"... also known to those who were at the blunt end of it as Negro Removal.  The federal government funded projects the tore down thriving neighborhoods in order to make way for more highways, more more "civic improvements" which were mostly targeted to try to bring people who had left for the burbs back into the cities to do something more than just work.  Of course, it was an utter failure, because the department stores and neighborhoods they tore down were, for many, the primary reason for coming back.  The "urban malls" that were built all over places like Pittsburgh were no better than the suburban malls, and usually attracted more crime than customers.

The people who were being relocated weren't moved into new, functioning neighborhoods, but instead cheaply built housing projects that were created for the sole purpose of building enclaves where all the poverty would be in one place, stacked upon more poverty.

The only effect this all had was to make the cities more unpleasant.  More crime ridden.  More black.  More financially strapped.  And more beholden to the federal government for help.

Repeat....

And all of this was funded by the government, every step of the way.
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12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2009, 07:49:46 pm »

A perfect example of one of these said "civic improvements" is the soon to be mercifully torn down "Mellon Arena" which was originally called the "Pittsburgh Civic Center".  First off, the whole thing was a joke, in and of itself, because the original purpose for the center was to serve as a theater for opera... I kid you not.

But when they originally built it, knocking down some 200 structures in the process and displacing almost 10,000 people, mostly black, with this one act alone (there was way more to come for The Hill), they claimed that the point was to create this great civic acropolis for the city, that would draw people in and give them a reason to come Downtown and meet in this great community experience.  So... to facilitate this, they devastated the surrounding neighborhood, in the process, disconnecting Downtown from the rest of the city, surrounded the entire thing with superhighways, making downtown no longer accessible by the traditional streets (either to drive, take public transit, or walk), and most easily accessible for those who didn't live in the city at all, and topped all that off by surrounding the thing with parking lots, totally isolating it from anything else.

Brilliant.
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12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2009, 08:52:19 pm »

I guess I never directly addressed your point...

Was it the government intention to destroy the cities.  No, I don't believe so.  I think that many had the best intentions in mind when they endorsed policies to depopulate the cities, thinking it would never go that far.  I think alot of people had good intentions in mind when they leveled neighborhoods they though to be slums in an effort to keep people having to come back to the cities.  I even believe that many of them probably had good intentions when they built the new highrises, in the hopes of making cities a good place for poor people to live.

But I also have to wonder what in the Hell these people were thinking, that made them believe that any of this would come out well, and I have wonder at the motives of many others.

And it is undeniable that while the government did not intentionally go out to undermine urban areas, they played a very active goal in the acceleration of that end.
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12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2009, 06:00:07 pm »

BTW... this article quotes the Brookings Institute Study.  I have read that study, and it actually recommends the exact opposite of what they suggest, it suggests.  No surprise coming from the British media, since it doesn't require things like, what do you call them?  Sources.

The study talked about the rampant increase of urban footprint vs the downsize of population is what this study laments.  In otherwords, it is opposing sprawl, not advocating bulldozing sections of the Central City.

I had to read this study for a report I did in a class last semester.  Surprised I didn't notice this until something about it appeared in the Post-Gazette the other day.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09174/979180-28.stm
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12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2009, 03:01:18 pm »
« Edited: June 29, 2009, 03:05:41 pm by Supersoulty »

I think we could more easily redevelop abandoned areas of cities and dismantle the outer exurbs, and make the neighborhoods desirable by having dense housing with large public green spaces.

With denser development, city services are much more efficient since you ahve fewer miles of streets to pave for more people and mass transit becomes a lot more viable.

Let the exurbs turn back into natural habitat or farmland.

I always get a good laugh when people in the suburbs/rural areas complain that we spend too much (or anything at all) on public transit funding.  After all, its an expense they will never get anything out of (which itself isn't true, but....).  Nevermind that the amount of money spent on maintaining the vast string of highly expensive roads that are required to maintain suburbia.
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12th Doctor
supersoulty
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2009, 03:09:38 pm »

Or the vast amount of money that we spend granting tax breaks and subsidies to oil companies, and then crafting a foreign policy that is heavily based around protecting our oil interests.
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