What a terrific idea! I would think that this approach could be successful in different scales in many areas where populations have dried up along with jobs and hope.
Certain parts of cleveland would look better, be safer and more enjoyable if the houses were gone and parks and open space existed instead.
Below find the beginning of the article and the full story is provided in the link found here and below the story.
FLINT, Mich. — Dozens of proposals have been floated over the years to slow this city’s endless decline. Now another idea is gaining support: speed it up.
Instead of waiting for houses to become abandoned and then pulling them down, local leaders are talking about demolishing entire blocks and even whole neighborhoods. The population would be condensed into a few viable areas. So would stores and services. A city built to manufacture cars would be returned in large measure to the forest primeval.
“Decline in Flint is like gravity, a fact of life,” said Dan Kildee, the Genesee County treasurer and chief spokesman for the movement to shrink Flint. “We need to control it instead of letting it control us.”
The recession in Flint, as in many old-line manufacturing cities, is quickly making a bad situation worse. Firefighters and police officers are being laid off as the city struggles with a $15 million budget deficit. Many public schools are likely to be closed.
“A lot of people remember the past, when we were a successful city that others looked to as a model, and they hope. But you can’t base government policy on hope,” said Jim Ananich, president of the Flint City Council. “We have to do something drastic.”
In searching for a way out, Flint is becoming a model for a different era.
Planned shrinkage became a workable concept in Michigan a few years ago, when the state changed its laws regarding properties foreclosed for delinquent taxes. Before, these buildings and land tended to become mired in legal limbo, contributing to blight. Now they quickly become the domain of county land banks, giving communities a powerful tool for change.