Battered Detroit wouldn’t have to struggle to pay for services in the vast areas of the city that are essentially abandoned if they didn’t exist—so it’s going to bulldoze them. Mayor Dave Bing did the calculus on a $300 million budget deficit and the 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 empty residential lots and came up with the solution. Over 3 years, a quarter of the city and 10,000 homes will come down, remaining residents will be relocated, and resources will be focused on still-viable neighborhoods.
There are many hurdles, Michael Snyder writes on the Business Insider. Not only does Detroit not have the money to maintain the status quo, it also can’t buy property or pay for relocation without federal aid. Still, the extreme belt-tightening has worked elsewhere, including nearby Flint, and doing anything else would be ignoring a cataclysmic problem. The city must deal “with the economics of decline” or go “bankrupt for good,” Snyder writes, as must the US. This is just the “cutting edge of what is happening to America as a whole.”