14 04 2008

Forty years ago, I stood on a hill in San Francisco with my best friend and, as we clung for dear life to a couple of trees in a tiny park, I visualized spending my life taking San Francisco down–tearing it up building by building, street by street, replanting the native flora, liberating the creeks, seeing the regreened valleys and hillsides teeming once again with the birds and beasts that once thrived there, before the human cancer arrived.

Today I read, with joy, that as the “mortgage crisis” deepens into a permanent condition, at least one city has started doing just that…Youngstown, Ohio.  Not the most glamorous location, but ya gotta start somewhere….

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio ( — Youngstown, Ohio, has seen its population shrink by more than half over the past 40 years, leaving behind huge swaths of empty homes, streets and neighborhoods.

Now, in a radical move, the city – which has suffered since the steel industry left town and jobs dried up – is bulldozing abandoned buildings and tearing up blighted streets, converting entire blocks into open green spaces. More than 1,000 structures have been demolished so far.

Under the initiative, dubbed Plan 2010, city officials are also monitoring thinly-populated blocks. When only one or two occupied homes remain, the city offers incentives – up to $50,000 in grants – for those home owners to move, so that the entire area can be razed. The city will save by cutting back on services like garbage pick-ups and street lighting in deserted areas.


They’re taking down the street lights!  That’s some of the best news I’ve heard lately!  There are few individual aspects of Western Civilization that irk me more than street- and “security” lights.  At the least, they should be hooked up to motion sensors so they only go on if something’s moving in their vicinity.

And little farms are springing up…may this spread like wildfire!




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