More Cities Embrace Novel Idea: Smart Shrinking

Planners realizing that population decline isn't always bad
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2010 5:00 PM CDT
More Cities Embrace Novel Idea: Smart Shrinking
Detroit is coming to grips with its shrinking population.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

(Newser) – City planners in the US have long focused on managing growth—or on trying to lure back people to restore a declining population. "Now a few planners and politicians are starting to try something new: embracing shrinking," writes Drake Bennett in the Boston Globe. It might mean, for example, tearing down vacant houses (as Detroit is trying) to create urban parks or space for wind turbines. Critics say it's defeatist, but proponents say it's not just a nod to reality but a smart strategy to create a healthy city.

story continues below

"At its most ambitious, smart shrinking offers an opportunity to rethink what makes a city a city," writes Bennett. "Some planners envision a landscape that isn’t recognizably urban, suburban, or rural, but some combination of the three, with multistory apartment buildings next to working farms, and public transit lines extending through neighborhoods where most households have ample space to park their cars." For Bennett's full essay, click here. (Read more cities stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.