Check out Shrinking Cities from Virginia Tech’s Dept. of Urban Affairs and Planning.
The blog comes from the Shrinking Cities – Sustainability studio in Virginia Tech’s School of Urban Affairs and Planning, Alexandria Campus.
It “aim(s) to explore the opportunities and challenges of shrinking cities in the context of contemporary urban planning. We will evaluate strategies and commentary on shrinking cities, including urban agriculture, storm water infrastructure, pocket parks, vacant property reclamation, land banks and community energy generation.”
Lots of good stuff here on Baltimore, Cleveland, Youngstown and more.
Today’s New York Times has a story about a proposal to close off parts of the city of Flint, Mich. in order to focus on saving what can still be saved. “The population would be condensed into a few viable areas,” the article explains. “So would stores and services. A city built to manufacture cars would be returned in large measure to the forest primeval.”
I’m really surprised this article didn’t mention Youngstown’s planned shrinkage.
Let’s have a discussion. First, I wanted to announce that Rust Wire has purchased a domain. We can now be accessed simply by visiting www.rustwire.com. Also, in the coming weeks we will be undertaking some improvements to our site. The content will remain the same or, hopefully, will improve as we reach larger audiences and expand our partnerships. Thanks to Youngstown’s Tyler Clark for the assistance.
Secondly, this got me thinking.
I’ve often heard people refer to Rust Belt cities as “dying.” This has always made me bristle.
I lived in Youngstown for a year and it is as qualified as any city for doomsday histrionics. But more than 30 years after the collapse of the steel industry on which the city was founded, Youngstown is still a city. It still has a functioning government. In fact, it’s regional economic product remains in the multi-billion dollar range. People still eat at the same restaurants as their parents and grandparents did, in many cases.
What do we mean when we say a city is dying? What does a dead city look like? I’ve heard people postulate that Detroit is dying. But it remains the nation’s 22nd largest city. Is a dead city empty? Will Detroit ever be completely empty?
I know a lot of Rust Belt cities prefer to think of themselves as shrinking. This is probably a more accurate discription, in my mind.
Any thoughts on this?