Saturday, January 4, 2014

Michael Fleming and Leland Ware are right: We all need to be concerned with fixing Wilmington

Too bad the problem is actually the government . . .

First, I have to say I agree with this:
The sad, steady decline of our state’s largest and most important city should deeply concern every Delawarean. Just as we are all invested in the health of the First State’s natural and economic resources – our beautiful coastline, our world-renowned courts, the University of Delaware, etc. – for reasons both moral and practical, we all have a serious stake in Wilmington’s fate.
The future of Delaware, if it involves having a failed city along the lines of Camden, is bleak.

And, have no doubt, as Professor Leland Ware observed in a recent op-ed that everyone couldn't wait to ignore, government played a major role in destroying the city:

A few of the online responses to The News Journal article, “Wilmington mired in violence,” attributed some of the city’s crime problems to the decision to ram I-95 through the heart of the city, destroying neighborhoods and dividing what was once was lovely, walkable city. 
This is an accurate observation. For most of the 20th century, policymakers at the federal, state and local levels pursued development strategies that had a detrimental effect on central city communities.
Fleming's article is an emotional call to action; Ware's piece is a dissection of government interventions gone wrong.  As such, I think Ware's column is more critical to addressing the problem.  Read the whole thing if you missed it, and pay attention to his conclusion:

The demographics of cities like Wilmington are not, as many assume, the result of the private choices of individual families. They are the direct result of decades of urban planning policies developed and implemented by federal, state and local governments. 
Public agencies and private organizations such as the Wilmington Renaissance Corp., Riverfront Wilmington, the Delaware Historical Society and other groups are working to reverse this trend by revitalizing downtown Wilmington. They deserve our support.
They deserve our involvement as well.  This one's too important to the quality of life in all of Delaware to leave to politicians and government bureaucrats.

Or else we can just start erecting the wall around the city limits and send for Kurt Russell when a helicopter crashes.

No comments: