Texas A&M professor thinks Detroit should just die off

Jul 22, 2016 at 2:11 pm

The Atlantic
published an article this week speculating and hypothesizing about the future of the Rust Best, including the city we call home.

The article, entitled "Do Parts of the Rust Belt 'Need to Die Off'?" displays a picture of Detroit's skyline with a vacant house in Brush Park in the forefront above the headline and offers some harsh words for the Motor City.  

The story centers around Galen Newman's idea that "some of America's struggling cities should embrace—and plan around—their decline." Newman is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and urban planning at Texas A&M. 

Alexia Campbell, a reporter at The Atlantic, interviewed Newman and asked about his "smart decline" concept that he and his colleague Justin Hollander are doing research on. 

"You've heard of smart growth—we're kind of thinking the opposite way," Newman explained. "The intent is you have to begin to accept the fact that maybe your city needs to be smaller, and it can't necessarily chase hefty growth incentives, and you have to try to utilize what you have, and manage what you have left in a proper manner."

The interview goes on to talk about the Midwest's heyday, the abundance of vacant land throughout the area, and what the future might look like. 

"What I think is going to happen is that a lot of these old, large cities are going to die out," Newman said when asked about the future of the Rust Belt. "I don't think they're going to officially die, but I think we're going to have to let some of them go, while these other newer cities are going to sprout up and take off with modern-age industries."