Sunday, November 1, 2009

Talking rightsizing

There were two good interviews this week with leaders on land use. The first, posted at the new Let's Save Michigan blog, is with Dan Kildee, the founder of Genesee County's innovative landbank. The second, a two-part interview on Time's Detroit Blog, is with Deborah L. Younger, the executive director of LISC. She's the treasurer of Detroit's new land bank and an influential voice on community development.

Both speak to the growing consensus that Detroit needs to rightsize itself -- not just by streamlining city government but by consolidating neighborhoods. The Free Press endorsed the idea for the second time today, and half the candidates in Tuesday's election expressed support in a Model D survey. The big question is how. Should the city actively vacate its most depopulated neighborhoods? Or will that only usher in further decline elsewhere? Can the city openly target resources to its stronger neighborhoods without writing off the rest? How do you make rightsizing fair? No one has the answers yet, but Kildee and Younger's thoughts are both worth listening to.

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