Mark My Words: This will work; then, this will spread



When I get to thinking about municipal fiscal fitness — and, with the way things are going these here days, that’s often — I hearken back to a story I saw, oh, 3, 4 years ago about big cities shrinking in size to better reflect what they can afford.
In fact, shrinking Philly has been in my backburner-column pile ever since, waiting for the right moment. Well, that right moment seems to have passed since Detroit is talking about doing it hardcore. To wit:

DETROIT – Detroit, the very symbol of American industrial might for most of the 20th century, is drawing up a radical renewal plan that calls for turning large swaths of this now-blighted, rusted-out city back into the fields and farmland that existed before the automobile.
Operating on a scale never before attempted in this country, the city would demolish houses in some of the most desolate sections of Detroit and move residents into stronger neighborhoods. Roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile city could go from urban to semi-rural.

All of which is to say, if this resuscitates a flailing city, it’ll get mimicked from coast to coast, and lakes to gulf.

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