Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ghost Cities Of 2100 "In the U.S., towns in Kansas and the Dakotas face extinction mainly because of an exodus of young people. Some Kansas towns are fighting back by giving away free land, with mixed results.

But some bigger centers also face the risk of annihilation. Urban planners across Europe and North America are already grappling with what to do with 'shrinking cities.' After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, millions of residents of what had been East Germany moved west. More than a million apartments were simply abandoned.

In response, the German government sponsored the Shrinking Cities Project to study what is now a global phenomenon. The project has an exhibit on tour that examines shrinkage in Russia's Ivanovo, Leipzig in Germany, Manchester and Liverpool in Britain and Detroit in the U.S.

Whether these cities disappear entirely, of course, is an open question. Detroit's population has fallen by around a third since 1950 and now equals about 950,000. It is expected to shrink slowly but steadily until at least 2030; unemployment inside the city is more than 10%. (The suburbs around Detroit, meanwhile, are growing.) If trends hold, Detroit will be altered beyond recognition by 2100."


geewhy said...

Detroit has already been altered beyond all recognition by the drop in population, as has Flint, Michigan, to the north. Many of the people left behind simply can't leave, and they are left in cities with a shrinking tax base, reduced services, high crime and abandoned houses. It's a real problem, but one that the U.S. doesn't seem to worry about at the federal level. Of course, the concept of a federal government has all but disappeared under Bush. (see New Orleans for another example.)

For more about the fate of Flint in the face of deindustrialization, visit Flint Expatriates.

Ryan said...

The circumstances in Detroit are indeed troubling but I don't know if it's the responsibility of the federal government. I find it ironic that people complain about Bush acting like an emperor (see FISA Courts or Patriot Act), until something like Katrina (or Detroit) happens and then they complain that he is not enough of an emperor.

Interesting Stuff