While Portland, OR has dictated an urban growth boundary to prevent growth, many US cities have been dealing with an already overgrown urban footprint. Recognizing the fall of the American city, some deteriorating rust belt towns are venturing into un-developing land in order to match up the geography to the cities’ shrinking populations. Given New Orleans’ own diminished population, although steadily in decline since the 1960s and most drastically the recent years since Hurricane Katrina, might fare well to consider proposals underway in cities like Detroit, especially considering the precarious geographic positioning of the Crescent City so close to an impending coastline.
Post population return after Katrina, the city toyed with the notion of obliterating vulnerable sections of the city. This concept being politically infeasible quickly died and what we have today is large once vibrant neighborhoods with few occupied houses per block.
Would we follow the German model of temporally forgiving property taxes for rights to the land? With this model the cost of demolition still rests on the stressed city government. Can the city attract business by opening up empty land to alternative energy enterprises such as solar and wind? Is this possible given the state’s staunch stance and imminent domain for private transfer?
The two following articles offer a first look into the options of shrinkage and open the discussion to how they apply to the City That Care Forgot, New Orleans, LA.