Sunday, April 10, 2011

How Do You Shrink A City?

With Detroit's population 25% smaller than than ten years ago, city planners are considering ways to compress the city geographically, including by gradually diminishing service levels in the most sparsely populated neighborhoods. Some are worried, as Monica Davey reports:

Would this simply amount to another chapter of “urban renewal” in which the poorest, least educated and unluckiest would be forced to move?

And what exactly would become of the neighborhoods with diminished services, likely to be places already plagued in some cases by what residents described as new, audacious brands of crimes? (Stores in some neighborhoods here have taken to placing cement blocks outside their glass entryways, residents said, to prevent thieves from crashing their cars through the doors for break-ins.)

“I’m hopeful, but I don’t know what it all would mean,” said Bayard Kurth, a screen printer from the West Village, another established neighborhood. “Big greenbelts in the city? Unmonitored places where people do whatever they want? All-day parties there?”

Photo: Lagoon and skating pavilion, Belle Isle, Detroit

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