Bruce Sterling Interview on Modern Cities
The state of modern cities, with Bruce Sterling and Boing Boing guest editor Chris Arkenberg (I interviewed Chris a few months ago):
The obviously dangerous aspect of modern cities is urban organized crime, narcoterror, low-intensity warfare, war in urban terrain, favela shoot-’em-ups, whatever faddish name the trouble has this year. Baghdad, Mogadishu, Grozny.
But I’d also like to point out that large financial centers in certain cities around the planet are certainly going to kill millions of us by destroying our social safety networks in the name of their imaginary financial efficiency. You’re a thousand times more likely to die because of what some urban banker did in 2008 than from what some Afghan-based terrorist did in 2001. *Financiers live in small, panicky urban cloisters, severely detached from the rest of mankind. They are living today in rich-guy ghetto cults. They are truly dangerous to our well-being, and they are getting worse and more extremist, not better and more reasonable. You’re not gonna realize this havoc till you see your elderly Mom coughing in an emergency ward, but she’s going there for a reason.
Boing Boing: Bruce Sterling Interview: Cities
Parts of Flint may go feral
Property abandonment is getting so bad in Flint that some in government are talking about an extreme measure that was once unthinkable — shutting down portions of the city, officially abandoning them and cutting off police and fire service.
Temporary Mayor Michael Brown made the off-the-cuff suggestion Friday in response to a question at a Rotary Club of Flint luncheon about the thousands of empty houses in Flint.
Brown said that as more people abandon homes, eating away at the city’s tax base and creating more blight, the city might need to examine “shutting down quadrants of the city where we (wouldn’t) provide services.” [...]
City Council President Jim Ananich said the idea has been on his radar for years.
The city is getting smaller and should downsize its services accordingly by asking people to leave sparsely populated areas, he said.
Full Story: Mlive
Feral cities – The New Strategic Environment
Update: See US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive