The article below is one of several I have seen recently along the same lines:
World Environment News - Some Shrinking U.S. Cities Find Splendor in Green - Planet Ark
I am aware that there are many millions of people, particularly in South America, Africa and parts of Asia, who would experience a vast improvement in their quality of life were they to be given the opportunity to live in these abandoned neighbourhoods. Is it ethically more sound to raze the houses to make green space, or to provide shelter for people who have none?
I am slowly but increasingly persuaded that no-one should be given the right to exclude other people from land that is not theirs: Israelis should have no right to exclude Palestinians from living in Israel; nor supporters of the British National Party [Front Nationale, Vlaams Blok/Belang] to prevent people with darker-coloured skin from living in western Europe. I guess that there are residents of Flint, Michigan, who would object to people from elsewhere in the world (such as refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants) taking up residence in abandoned neighbourhoods.
A related, though separate, issue concerns social welfare. Were familes say, from Timbuktu, to relocate to Flint, Michigan, or to Pennywell, Sunderland, who would be responsible for their social welfare?
[To be continued ...]