Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Park closings as induced blight?

Just back from dinner with a very perceptive family friend who wonders if developers are behind the supposedly budget-driven California state park closures. It makes a bizarre kind of sense. This could be intentionally blight-inducing disinvestment, just as, in past decades, chunks of center cities were left to fall apart, so they could be viewed as "blighted", so developers and Urban Renewal grand-planners could sweep in to the rescue, more or less at the expense of the local residents who had hunkered down through the years of abandonment.

At first glance it hadn't seemed likely to benefit anyone, this willful waste of a public resource -- but then again if the parks' infrastructure declines, if they become less attractive, if illicit pot farmers move in on their hinterlands, if they become dangerous and derelict through neglect -- then in can ride the developers with their big plans to make everything safe and clean again. Except, just maybe, privatization would be their price for the big overhaul...

Hope this is worrying too much. Eeeesh, though, maybe she's right.

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