Reinventing Poor Cities at Scale

By Charles Marohn, Strong Towns

Flint, MI presents a very compelling story. A city full of poor, disadvantaged people from which the affluent have fled. An economy in systematic decline where jobs have been shipped out and factories boarded up. Neighborhoods without basic investment to keep things livable. And, the acute, high profile tragedy of a water system delivering lead poisoning to its children. How can we not act? The last time I wrote about Flint I was scolded by many that Americans have a moral obligation to cities like Flint. We owe it to them to provide a base level of decency on par with the rest of America. Anything less is unacceptable. I'm sympathetic to that reasoning, but I see the American standard of living -- particularly as we currently measure it -- as more of a moving target. Last week I described the predicament in Lafayette, Louisiana, where the typical family would need...