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What Do You Do With Detroit? Bulldoze It

Have you ever wondered what will become of Detroit?

Foreclosures signs  in Detroit
Source: Getty Images
Foreclosures signs  in Detroit

Will the auto industry bounce back in enough time to save the real-estate market? Will artists flock to the cheap real estate and colonize the city? Or, will it go the way of that luxury condo building in downtown Orlando that's overwhelmed by vultures?

Well, Detroit’s mayor has an idea: Bulldoze it.

Mayor Dave Bing is apparently working on a radical plan that would bulldoze a quarter of the city— some of the most desolate areas — and return it to farmland, the way it was before the automobile. Any residents still there would be relocated to stronger neighborhoods.

This isn't a new idea — Detroit has been kicking it around since the 1990s, and some people suggest dozens of U.S. cities hard-hit by the recession may have to be bulldozed.

One of those people is Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint, Michigan.

Kildee told London's Telegraph that we need to get over the American mindset that "big is good."

“The obsession with growth is sadly a very American thing. Across the US, there’s an assumption that all development is good, that if communities are growing they are successful. If they’re shrinking, they’re failing,” he said.

When this talk of bulldozing cities resurfaced last summer, some people said there was no evidence that the government had such plans in the works.

But with Detroit taking the idea seriously, one professor says it may be time that we dared to dream — in a way we've never dared before.

“Things that were unthinkable are now becoming thinkable,” James W. Hughes, dean of the School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, told the AP. “There is now a realization that past glories are never going to be recaptured. Some people probably don’t accept that but that is the reality,” he said.

Welcome to the future. Why does it look so much like 1910 instead of 2010?

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Questions? Comments? Email me at ponyblog@cnbc.com or drop a line in the comment box below.

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