Shrinking Cities

News Article Archive


In the last few years, there has been a spate of media attention focused on the shrinking city phenomenon.  Some articles sought to explain the causes of shrinkage, some highlight specific cities as case studies, and others focus on efforts to stem the decline.  Here are a few of the more prominent news stories in multi-media.

Judge May Hold Investors Responsible for Blight
National Public Radio (Aug. 2010):  A judge is testing the use of restitution to hold investors responsible for the blight they have caused.

Urban Renewal Revisited?
Planetizen (Apr.  2010):  Journalist and urban critic Roberta Brandes Gratz questions the validity of shrinking the built footprint, even for severely distressed neighborhoods.   (Hear also GreenSense's at length interview with 4 experts on right-sizing.)

Abandoned Houses Fix Hasn't Come

Detroit (Mar. 2010):  Even after 40 years of tearing down vacant and abandoned homes, there are still about 33,500 empty ones left.  Mayor Dave Bing and Karla Henderson (new director of buildings, safety, and engineering) plan to take drastic steps to control the nightmare.

"Comeback Cities" - John Kromer Interviews Boston Foundation President Paul Grogan

Fels Insittute of Government (Mar. 2010):  Krogan speaks about how his "blueprint for revival" held up 10 years after it was published.  Interview topics include the role of CDCs in 2010, welfare reform, and public and private investments helping American cities.

Why the Need to Right-size?
GreenSense (Feb. 2010):   Robert Colangelo finds out why the need to right-size by interviewing Joseph Schilling, Associate Director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech; Dave Flynn, an environment and energy Attorney; Stephen Filmanowicz, the Congress for the New Urbanism; and Jeff Edstrom, Senior Scientist, Environmental Consulting and Technology.  (Requires MP3)

Corporate owners charged with housing violations fined $1,000 a day for missing court
The Plain Dealer (Jan. 2010).

From Vacant Properties to Green Space
Urban Land (Jan./Feb. 2010):  Provides examples of what Atlanta, GA, is doing to covert the oversupply of vacant commerical and residential properties into much needed green spaces.

Resizing Shrinking Cities Requires Patience and Prudence
REALNEO (Jan. 2010):  Emphasizes that local govenments need to revisit their processes and policies in addressing the shrinking cities.

The Reuse of the Creative Class
The American Prospect:  Liberal Intelligence (Jan. 2010): Speaks about the role of the creative class in creating a vibrant urban environment.

Shrinking Cities U.S.A
Urban Land (Nov./Dec. 2009):  Shows how some rust-belt cities are turning vacant and abandoned land into parks and community gardens to improve the quality of life.  The city of focus is Cleveland.  See also the related Urban Land (Jan./Feb. 2010) article above.

ABC Nightline News  “Realty Check”
ABC (Oct. 2009):   Shows demolition as a right-sizing strategy in Flint, MI, and how local residents feel about the strategy.

Flint, MI: Growing Stronger by Growing Smaller
National Public Radio (July 2009):  NPR interviews Dan Kildee about Flint's right-sizing strategy.

Honey, I Shrunk the City:  Bold Ideas for Declining Urban Centers

KCRW (June 2009):  KCRW public radio interviews Dan Kildee, Randy O'Toole, Karina Pallagst, and others to find out how some declining cities are redefining their urban landscape.

An Effort to Save Flint, Mich., by Shrinking It

New York Times (2009): Highlights the work of the Genesee County Land Bank and its innovative approach to planned shrinkage.

Detroit: The Death — and Possible Life — of a Great City
Time Magazine (2009): Chronicles the decline of Detroit, and discusses ‘shrinking cities’ in the local, state and national contexts.

Moving Data: Cities are Shrinking All Over the World
vimeo (2008): Provides animation of growing and shrinking built environment in different parts of the world, i.e. Detroit, Leipzig, Manchester / Liverpool and Halle, and Ivanovo.

Reclaiming Detroit Means Reinventing A City

National Public Radio (2008): Interviews long-time Detroit residents about their efforts to reinvent their beloved city.

The Incredible Shrinking City
CNN (2008): Examines Youngstown, OH, where years of decline was exacerbated by the foreclosure crisis.

Smaller is Better for Youngstown, OH
National Public Radio (July 2007):   NPR interviews leading academics and Youngstown planners to discuss demolition strategies and reduction of city services in an effort to shrink the city's footprint.

Stay or Go?:  Shrinking Cities Raise Questions
National Public Radio (July 2007):   Demographer William Frey, with the Brookings Institute, explains the trend behind industrial cities' population decline.

As Exurbs Exude Comfort, It's No Surprise Cities Are Shrinking
Washington Post (2004): Explores the allure of exurbuia, as suburbanization is one of the forces at play in shrinking cities.