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Urban Planning Chair Robin Boyle comments in Detroit Free Press article examining Detroit Future City plan
January 9, 2013
As Detroit officials consider acting on a new plan that would focus future resources on highly populated areas and offer incentives to residents to move out of largely vacant ones, they should study Youngstown, Ohio, as a cautionary tale. In the early 2000s the city produced its highly praised "Youngstown 2010" plan, a land-use framework that envisioned some parts of the city being allowed to become or stay vacant. The stated motive was to create a smaller but better city. The plan was widely hailed internationally as the first attempt by a major city to plan for downsizing. But it was never implemented in a major way because of a lack of city resources. Attempts to use incentives to get residents in distressed areas to move failed because of lack of interest from the residents. Robin Boyle, professor and chair of urban planning at Wayne State University, said the outcomes for major city plans have been mixed. He referred to the 1909 Burnham Plan for Chicago, responsible for the acclaimed lakefront parks and improved roadways. "The Chicago plan did result in a sort of cultural coming together around the ideas," Boyle said. "On the other hand, if we look at many other examples, the impact of plans has been less than remarkable. That's because people don't get behind them."