So says the normally level-headed Matt Yglesias:
This raises “really tricky legal-type questions” about the permissible scope of eminent domain law, but a fully empowered mayor could get the job done. Detroit famously can’t get 40 percent of its traffic lights to work, and its 58-minute 911 response time for major crimes is abysmal. Abandoning whole areas of the city and forcibly relocating families into currently vacant structures closer to the core would be a drastic step, but in a way, it wouldn’t be so different from a normal eminent domain process to build critical infrastructure. In this case, rather than creating new services, it would allow Detroit to provide much better services to a new, smaller city. And with over 20 percent of the existing housing units in the city vacant, it would be feasible to rehouse a large number of people.
Why, those cretins living in Detroit don’t even know enough to live close to services! God, how stupid. Fortunately, we DC-based bloggers know better. They must be “forcibly” shown the error of their ways.
Here’s a better idea: Why not decentralize Detroit and let neighborhoods take care of their own services? Not only is it likely to be more efficient than a centrally planned, new city, but it’s also consistent with, shall we say, basic human rights?