Opinionifying: Small is Good
From my vast experience of playing Sim City, I can tell you that if you let the fucking city get too big and don't give the people enough services, they are going to kick your fat ass right out of the Mayoral chair. Plus, you have to listen to all the City employees bitch you out most unsympathetically and whine about all the stuff they need, even as your city bursts into flames or the nuclear power suffers a meltdown or the greedy little bastids populating your city riot because you won't give them new or more stuff.
So when this article caught my eye, I totally agreed. Then I did a double-take. I mean, it makes sense. How could it ever happen? We don't have enough sensible people in the whole fucking country to fill one fucking town.
So then I agreed again and read it some more, and you should too. Because I really really like the idea of rustbelt cities (which are falling apart anyway) being small conglomerations of housing, business, and services surrounded by open space. Could we see wildlife coming back? Meadows?
See, this is what happened. Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County (where Flint, Michigan is located) met Barack Obama on the campaign trail, and discussed a revolutionary idea with him: Razing entire districts in shrinking cities, and returning the land to nature.
Local politicians believe the city (Flint, ed.)must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.As Kildee points out, these cities are shrinking anyway. The big employers for these areas were the car companies, who have mostly gone out of business. Young people are moving away for better opportunities, like the opportunity to eat regularly, and all.
Mr Kildee said he will concentrate on 50 cities, identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution, an influential Washington think-tank, as potentially needing to shrink substantially to cope with their declining fortunes.
Most are former industrial cities in the "rust belt" of America's Mid-West and North East. They include Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis
"The real question is not whether these cities shrink – we're all shrinking – but whether we let it happen in a destructive or sustainable way," said Mr Kildee. "Decline is a fact of life in Flint. Resisting it is like resisting gravity."Wot you t'ink? I like the idea. It could never happen where I live, though. This city just keeps growing. Unfortunately. However, the exurbs and suburbs nearby are shrinking as overleveraged people sell or fall into foreclosure and move back to the city, so that's a good thing. Kinda. Stumble It!
The city is buying up houses in more affluent areas to offer people in neighbourhoods it wants to demolish. Nobody will be forced to move, said Mr Kildee.
"Much of the land will be given back to nature. People will enjoy living near a forest or meadow," he said.
Prairie Wildlife Illustration by Kandis Elliott, Defenders of Wildlife
Mr Kildee acknowledged that some fellow Americans considered his solution "defeatist" but he insisted it was "no more defeatist than pruning an overgrown tree so it can bear fruit again".