December 27, 2006 Smart Decline vs. Smart Growth
While America continues to grow at a fast rate, some older more urban cities have declined in population. For example, Richmond VA, has lost over 50,000 residents in the last 35 years. And according to the US Census 11 of the 100 largest US cities fifty years ago now have less than 100,000 residents. There are a couple of factors that have led to this decline, primarily the use of automobile transportation and the incredible growth of suburbs.
Few Utah cities are addressing issues of population decline (however, there are some), but I found this article in USA Today interesting: As Older Cities Shrink, Some Reinvent Themselves. Ther article quotes Terry Schwarz, senior planner at Kent State University’s Urban Design Center of Northeast Ohio, “Everybody’s talking about smart growth, but nobody is talking about smart decline, there’s nothing that says that a city that has fewer people in it has to be a bad place.”