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Compacting Flint


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Flint Michigan, birth place of GM, is an 88 square kilometre city that’s well past its prime – people are leaving in droves . GM’s recent bankruptcy and home foreclosures won’t help things. In 2000, there were 55,464 housing units for 48,744 households. In 1965 there were 200,000 residents, now there are 110,000. The number and spread of abandoned homes means that the city has to maintain redundant infrastructure at some cost to the pocket and to morale.

Genesee County Land Bank Chairman Dan Kildee is advocating demolition of large chunks of the city – to make servicing it more affordable. “Decline in Flint is like gravity, a fact of life… We need to control it instead of letting it control us.” The mayor agrees. People would be offered money to relocate out of semi-abandoned outer quadrants, which would then be demolished and returned to pasture. At the same time, higher density student housing is proposed for the city centre.

Questions arise about parallel motives: The Flint Expats blog asks , “which parts of Flint get eliminated? And what happens when the predominantly white power structure selects predominantly African American sections of town to turn into verdant pastures?”

The Telegraph reports that the Obama administration has recently hired Kildee to apply the same logic across the foreclosure nation – he is starting on 50 cities.

Related: In nearby Saginaw, Habitat for Humanity are demolishing rather than building houses. LINK
They’ve already started in nearby Youngstown, and CS Monitor finds that it isn’t going too well – no one has taken the 50K incentive to move house.

Tip:Arch Record

Posted by Peter on 14.06.09 in 

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