Cleveland’s Demolition Condition

By Jim Russell – Rust Belt cities were built for a population peak some 50 or 100 years ago. The debt incurred from all that infrastructure and all the necessary services remains a municipal burden. One of the bigger legacy costs concern vacant buildings, both residential and commercial. With no significant influx of people on the horizon, what’s a shrinking city to do?

The City of Cleveland has been in a state of continual demographic decline since the 1950s. Sprawl and waning birth rates, not regional exodus, are the two main culprits.

Much more troubling was the displacement of employment as a matter of federal policy. In 1951, drawing attention to the threat of nuclear attack, President Harry Truman directed the decentralization of manufacturing.

While burning buildings has fallen from favor, demolition is the flavor du jour in Cleveland and Detroit. After all, a shrinking city can’t grow until the government knocks it down (or torches it). more>

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