Via an IM from son James I found out that some cities are excising dead tissue before it becomes gangrenous:
Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic “shrink to survive” proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.
The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.
Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.
Flint’s recovery efforts have been helped by a new state law passed a few years ago which allowed local governments to buy up empty properties very cheaply.
They could then knock them down or sell them on to owners who will occupy them. The city wants to specialise in health and education services, both areas which cannot easily be relocated abroad.
The local authority has restored the city’s attractive but formerly deserted centre but has pulled down 1,100 abandoned homes in outlying areas.
Mr Kildee estimated another 3,000 needed to be demolished, although the city boundaries will remain the same.
Thousands of homes. Wow. That would be quite a ghost town.
Although it seems a little odd in our time it wasn’t all the uncommon, at least in the western United States, for towns to spring up around mines, flourish for many years then be abandoned. For it to happen around some other industry in another age shouldn’t be all the surprising I guess.