Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How the Crash Will Reshape America

I am a big fan of Richard Florida's work on urban planning. In the March Atlantic he wrote an article called How the Crash Will Reshape America about how the economic crisis will change cities. Here's a great quote:
But another crucial aspect of the crisis has been largely overlooked, and it might ultimately prove more important. Because America’s tendency to overconsume and under-save has been intimately intertwined with our postwar spatial fix—that is, with housing and suburbanization—the shape of the economy has been badly distorted, from where people live, to where investment flows, to what’s produced. Unless we make fundamental policy changes to eliminate these distortions, the economy is likely to face worsening handicaps in the years ahead.

I was born in Buffalo NY and I know what he is talking about when he mentions that cities like Detroit and Buffalo need to learn how to fight blight as the population decreases, he says:
That’s the challenge that many Rust Belt cities share: managing population decline without becoming blighted. The task is doubly difficult because as the manufacturing industry has shrunk, the local high-end services—finance, law, consulting—that it once supported have diminished as well, absorbed by bigger regional hubs and globally connected cities.

I hope that we are creative enough to develop solutions for these types of problems.

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