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Posted by on Jul 1, 2009 in Walkaways | 6 comments | Print Print

Between Now and Mad Max

I could see this in Palmdale, or maybe Victorville…….but could it happen here?

An update on Flint, MI:

An excerpt:

Then he looks at what’s left of the neighborhood – blocks lined with bruised homes and broken windows. Two streets over, someone has nailed a plywood sign to a tree: “No Prostitution Zone.” On three blocks of Jane, the city is targeting 14 homes for demolition, four of which have already been scarred by fires.

“My dad, he can’t come down this street anymore. … It’s too hard to see,” Kildee says. “Because his whole life was here.”

What was once Buick City is largely a cement prairie now, and General Motors, which once employed more than 80,000 in the city of its founding, has cut its Flint work force to about 6,000. Flint’s population, which peaked at 197,000, dwindled to 115,000 in 2007, and falling.

To stabilize the city, Kildee started the Genesee County Land Bank, which has taken title to 9,000 properties since 2002, tearing down 1,000 and selling or rehabbing others.

The foreclosure crisis has made the job even tougher, leaving the Land Bank with at least 1,000 more abandoned homes to demolish.


  1. Sad state of affairs.


  2. Michigan has been a hell hole since before I came into this world. Everyone of my friends who was originally born there got out at their first opportunity. The Red Wings can suck it too.

    It would be depressing to see the place you grew up in razed to the ground. I’m sure I’d avoid that sight as well.


  3. “Blade Runner”, coming to a neighborhood near you.


  4. It could happen here. If Qcomm left and the border violence was like the crime back east, then SD would be just as bad as many cities are in one of the most violent countries on earth.

    Frankly, many people assume SD is already very bad because of that border. I was surprised to see how less ‘bad’ SD is compared to other places, like say Baltimore.


  5. Looking at the state of Michigan on Google Earth, tearing down much of the Detroit area may be the only solution to save the city. It’s a bit like playing Sim City and realizing there’s a big chunk of real estate that needs a visit from the bulldozer icon.

    It’s doubtful any politician there wants to be known as the man/woman who tore down the city. So these places will continue to deteriorate year after year with no end in sight, looking more like a war zone at every passing year.


  6. As a WaPo subscriber, I got to read this over my coffee. A little background: while I’m from RB, my dad (still in RB) is from Flint. I’ve been going to Flint forever (although with my grandfather now dead, not so much any longer). Flint is terribly depressing place. GM, with its own set of troubles, ambandoned Flint and the city crumbled. There isn’t much else up there. It isn’t Detroit, which has other businesses, its a company town for GM. The slide has been going on for decades, and its well-chronicled. What was once a great industrial city is approaching ghost town status. The real estate issues are frankly a sympton, and not a cause of the city’s problems.

    Could it happen in SD? I suppose, but unlikely. Yes, we have big employers (Qcomm, GD, Navy), but not ONE employer. If, as suggested above, Q pulled out it would be bad, but not like when GM yanked the plug on Flint. Even if we just have tourism (Vegas), we still got more than Flint.

    As for Victorville/Inland Empire, they are commuter towns, so they don’t really have a single employer to kill them. If gas stays over $100 a barrell, then yeah, no one will want to live there. And, the housing bubble is a problem of its own. But there, housing is a major problem, not a symptom.

    I could tell you all terrible stories about Flint, but I’ll spare you.



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