Saturday, June 13, 2009

Next Czar: Urban Demolition Czar?

I have a hunch, just a hunch, that it is indeed the next czar to join so many others. Urban Demolition Czar. Doesn't it have a nice ring of power and authoritarianism combined with almost video-game like fun and excitement?

US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive
(6/12/09, Telegraph):

"Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic "shrink to survive" proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.

"The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

"The radical experiment is the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint.

"Having outlined his strategy to Barack Obama during the election campaign, Mr Kildee has now been approached by the US government and a group of charities who want him to apply what he has learnt to the rest of the country.

"Mr Kildee said he will concentrate on 50 cities, identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution, an influential Washington think-tank, as potentially needing to shrink substantially to cope with their declining fortunes.

"Most are former industrial cities in the "rust belt" of America's Mid-West and North East. They include Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis."

There you go. Mr. Kildee has been already approached by the Obama admin, and he has already picked his first 50 targets. The announcement of newly annoin.. appointed czar cannot be too far away.

"The city is buying up houses in more affluent areas to offer people in neighbourhoods it wants to demolish. Nobody will be forced to move, said Mr Kildee.

""Much of the land will be given back to nature. People will enjoy living near a forest or meadow," he said. Mr Kildee acknowledged that some fellow Americans considered his solution "defeatist" but he insisted it was "no more defeatist than pruning an overgrown tree so it can bear fruit again". "

The first thing I thought about when I first read this article yesterday was: Agenda 21.

United Nation Agenda 21, signed by the United States in 1992, is basically about how we should change just about every aspect of our life (live, eat, move) to save the mother planet Earth. It involves "equitable" development (think wealth transfer) as well as "sustainable" development (think depopulation). If you think this is about one of those empty promises by a big organization like U.N., you are mistaken. But I will leave you to do further research.

It seems perfectly in line with the direction this new administration seems to be heading: more government control over ever-increasing aspects of private lives and private enterprises, because they know what's good for the rest of us.

But this urban demolition derby, it is absolutely juicy.

Think redevelopment agency; think eminent domain targeting of entire opposition districts, payoffs to/from green and affordable housing developers. It's a dream come true for "smart growth" proponents - everyone should, no, can, no, must live above the bus depot, WPA-like organization for the 25% unemployment coming among the young to tear it all down and recycle all those door knobs, .. endless possibilities. (Sort of like FDR's WPA that created jobs to catalog 350 different ways to cook spinach.)

(And remember, those old houses in Detroit, Philadelphia, Memphis, etc. are probably full of asbestos and lead paint. Probably it will cost much more to demolish than to keep them. But so what if will cost more, we just issue more debts and print more money. Besides, these people will acquire the essential skills and knowledge of "green" demolition.)

So after 10 years of tearing down cities, with 20 million kids with no other job prospects in a downsized economy, what to do with them next?

With finely-tuned demolition skills they can spread the gospel to other parts of the world, can't they? Yes, we can. Downsized economy will be everywhere in the world, since this current recession/depression is very much global.

Or they can settle for "green" jobs in the U.S., I suppose. There are lots of possibilities here, too. Neighborhood green compliance monitoring and enforcement, garbage container policing to see there is no recyclable items in the garbage bins (Brits are already doing it; this alone would merit another post), or how about carbon police (darn, Australians are already doing it. Come on America, you are behind the curve...).

Mr. Rahn Emanuel put so eloquently, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Ms. Hillary Clinton echoed, "Never waste a good crisis."


Post a Comment