In this opinion piece from the Detroit Free Press, John Gallagher identifies the next challenge, and the unpleasant reality, of our current strategies for dealing with the massive numbers of vacant buildings we have in cities:
The simplistic, ipso-facto hope that often rears its head: if we just clear it, “the market” will take care of the rest.
As the author describes, the challenges go deeper than that. I wrote at the Wise Economy not long ago about the risk of simplistic thinking about vacant property acquisition and demolition, but I think John makes the case more concretely that I did. My point, and I think his: we are running a big risk of the damages of magic-bullet thinking and setting ourselves up for ugly unintended consequences unless we start thinking through this issue more systematically, with more of an eye to the potential impacts of our choices, and without defaulting to simplistic “if you demolish it they will come” pseudo-logic.
That doesn’t mean I know the answer. It just means we need to not fall into the same traps that led us to other bad ideas.
I can always count on RustWire to find the insightful, critical-thinking stuff we need. Thanks, guys.