April 23, 2009
Returned To The Forest Primeval
Flint, MI is contemplating shrinkage:
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.
I’m always awed that when it comes to cities like Flint, EVERYTHING is thought of in near-cosmic terms. Instead of “let’s replace abandoned neighborhoods with new parks” — which is already a pretty dramatic undertaking — it’s “let’s let that bitch goddess nature take back what’s hers, for we can no longer maintain even the pretense of civilization.”
I mean, look:
These days, crime is brazen: two men recently stripped the siding off Mr. Kildee’s old house, “laughing like they were going to a picnic,” Ms. Kelly said. Down the street are many more abandoned houses, as well as a huge hand-painted sign that proclaims, “No prostitution zone.”
Maybe this is what Flint needs:
Then again, Rome had a working economy.
NB: If it seems like I sound too callous or flippant, I should add (for the benefit of readers who don’t know me personally) that I was born in Detroit and grew up in Michigan; I get wounded every time I read articles like this, and lash out with gallows humor. Watching these cities die, with nobody but the occasional national reporter to pop in like a hospice nurse to check their vital signs, is like watching a family member succumb to cancer.
This isn’t dancing on Flint’s grave; this is an Irish wake.