This is a must read for anyone contemplating the decline and "hollowing out" of Buffalo, NY. Mayor Jay Williams is no stranger to fixBuffalo. Featured a recent Smart City interview with him - Learning from Youngstown.
The approach is controversial. Encouraging and accepting the hollowing out of neighborhoods will, by default and design, hit Youngstown's poor and minority residents the hardest. About 45% of Youngstown's residents are black, another 5% Hispanic, and the blight is heavily concentrated in minority neighborhoods, which are slated for the biggest makeovers.
Youngstown, which has lost half its population since the 1950s, says it needs a radically different approach to halt decay. It's pointless to try to revive certain neighborhoods, the city's leaders argue, since the exodus of residents often makes those areas unpleasant and dangerous places to live, leading to further decline. "The concept of trying to grow out of economic malaise is just not realistic for us," says Mayor Jay Williams, 35 years old. One of his first official acts after being elected in 2005 was to apply surplus money to demolition in the city.
Shrink to Fit. Podcast, too explaining the mayor's approach and rational for changing the way we think about decline.
"It's un-American. It seems like you're doing something wrong if you're not growing," says Hunter Morrison, director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at Youngstown State University, who worked with the city to come up with its strategy. But he says the idea is "not really about growth or shrinkage, it's about managing change."
Imagine...cutting out large chunks of the urban landscape here in Buffalo - neighborhoods that are no longer thriving, that are dead. Imagine removing sidewalks, schools, streets and sewers. Does Buffalo have the intestinal fortitude to make the sort of changes necessary to right-size the City?__________________________________________________________________________
See also - Getting Smarter about Decline...includes links to Blueprint Buffalo. Interested in issues involving "brownfield reclamation" see Learning from Others. Make sure to check out LISC - Buffalo and National Vacant Properties Campaign for addtional information regarding issues and major public policy initiatives involving abandondment, vacancy and the management of decline.
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