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View Full Version : What happens to dying cities?


JonIrenicus
10-08-2009, 04:27 PM
I came across this story about Detroit, and the number is stunning.


http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/jan/29/nation/chi-detroit-housingjan29



....




There is nothing to say but wow. I guess one answer by former inhabitants is to simply leave. But in a way that makes it worse, as more and more leave with means, what is left is the poorest and least mobile population.


So what happens to places like this? I know in the past when jobs have dried up en masse from certain companies towns have simply been abandoned, but has this ever happened to such a large city in the US?

Lyle
10-08-2009, 06:02 PM
It's life. It has happened all throughout history. Economic centers grow, wither and die, like everything else.

It's sad, very sad but I most say that I think Detroit can survive. It's the one big economic center in Michigan and Ann Arbor with all its smart minds is right next door. They just need some new ideas and need to get the crime rate down so educated folk aren't scared to move back to the city and live there (easier said than done though). Same problem exists in smaller New England industrial towns, like Brockton. Same phenomenon is going on in northern England's industrial towns as well and has been for a long time. In places like Bradford and Leeds. Interestingly, it's a popular place for immigrants to move to due to cheap property values and the fact that what work there is to do, immigrants aren't ashamed to do it.

look
10-09-2009, 01:27 AM
Detroit, which has lost half its population in the past 50 years, is deceptively large, covering 139 square miles. Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston could, as a group, fit inside the city’s boundaries. There is no major grocery chain in the city, and only two movie theaters. Much of the neighborhood economy revolves around rib joints, hot dog stands and liquor stores. The candidates travel around this sprawling city, some invoking the nostalgic era of Big Three dominance and vowing that Detroit can be great again.Wow, it sounds like some futuristic wasteland of a city. Scarey. But I guess Lyle is right, these things happen. I'm not sure what immigrants would be able to do to revive anything. Any ideas?

Lyle
10-09-2009, 10:34 AM
Immigrants work and prosper, which generates economic growth, etc... Just like all immigrants have done throughout American history. Although maybe there is a point where the diminishing law of returns on immigration kicks in. Detroit is place where a lot people out of work could be working, but don't because either they don't want to do certain jobs due to social pressure or because they just pay a lot less that what they had, and/or just don't want to work. Immigrants work and will do anything, and Detroit needs people like that.

JonIrenicus
10-09-2009, 05:15 PM
Immigrants work and prosper, which generates economic growth, etc... Just like all immigrants have done throughout American history. Although maybe there is a point where the diminishing law of returns on immigration kicks in. Detroit is place where a lot people out of work could be working, but don't because either they don't want to do certain jobs due to social pressure or because they just pay a lot less that what they had, and/or just don't want to work. Immigrants work and will do anything, and Detroit needs people like that.

I think Detroit is more a case where the economic engines of the city took too large a hit in too short a time. That coupled with the expulsion of the more productive population (smaller business) and white collar workers via a bleaker and bleaker outlook, and what is left is a very low yielding soil with which to build anything new, at least in any decent amount of time. But it's not over until it's over. But if I lived there, I'd just move.

Lyle
10-09-2009, 05:56 PM
I'm with you. It's really just that Detroit didn't have or doesn't have a very diversified economy. It was all based around the automobile industry or manufacturing. The manufacturing part has been gone for a while though. And you're right that people need to move if the one job in town shuts down, but that's not how people normally work... at least not in the short run yet. People get tied down to a place for a lot of reasons. It takes time for them and their families to adjust and move on.

There's been in an out-migration to the South though the last decade and that has something to do with working class jobs being created there and not in Michigan or Ohio, or wherever else. African-Americans have been moving down South as well for job reasons and maybe even cultural reasons. So it's happening, but there is always some detritus in the wake of something that once was