Thursday, January 19, 2012

Urban prairies and local public goods

From Atlantic cities, some amazing photos of areas close to downtown St. Louis that are gradually returning to nature in the decades following slum clearance. Detroit has plenty of similar areas; they are testament to the power of local public goods, or the lack thereof, to affect the incidence and character of economic development.

For local readers, driving across the border between Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park on Jefferson Avenue illustrates this point dramatically. There is literally an instant transformation from a not awful but pretty run down part of Detroit to pretty nice homes and businesses. When I have driven by, there has often been a Grosse Pointe Park police cruiser parked just on the Grosse Pointe Park side of the boundary to drive home the point about the change in the nature of public goods provision.

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