Monday, 22 July 2013

Detroit Is a Victimi of Sprawl Too: Krugman

The recent brouhaha about Detroit's financial problems and its filing for bankruptcy protection have sparked many comments.  Paul Krugman in The New York Times, as usual, has some trnechant things to say, particularly about the dangers of comparing this situation with that of Greece.

But half-way through he touches on one of the greatest ironies of the story: the way that urban sprawl exacerbated an already difficult sitauiton:

"In Detroit’s case matters seem to have been made worse by political and social dysfunction. One consequence of this dysfunction has been a severe case of “job sprawl” within the metropolitan area, with jobs fleeing the urban core even when employment in greater Detroit was still rising, and even as other cities were seeing something of a city-center revival. Fewer than a quarter of the jobs on offer in the Detroit metropolitan area lie within 10 miles of the traditional central business district; in greater Pittsburgh, another former industrial giant whose glory days have passed, the corresponding figure is more than 50 percent. And the relative vitality of Pittsburgh’s core may explain why the former steel capital is showing signs of a renaissance, while Detroit just keeps sinking."

So the home of the 20th century autombile industry becomes, in part, a victim of the industry that made it once prosperous.

Below is the trailer for Michael Moore's movie Roger and Me.  While it is about the Detoir suburb of  Flint, it's also about what was and is wrong with the automobile-based society.

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