The Corner

Some Day, We’ll All Live in Detroit

Take a look at this slideshow, and then ponder the question: Is American decline a choice or an inevitability?

America has a new kind of ghost town, haunted by the spirits of the recession. Developers caught up in the runaway housing boom overbuilt and oversold lots, houses and condos, leaving neighborhoods barren with uninhabited model homes, eerily desolate luxury condos, and abandoned McMansions in the aftermath of the collapse.

Most of these recession ghost towns lie in heavily-hit regions of the housing crisis: South Florida, Arizona, California and Nevada. Some in metropolitan areas like Phoenix and Miami, have a better chance of surviving after the housing market recovers, but others are in remote desert developments where municipal services have long since left.

Maybe abandoning parts of California City, Calif., makes some sense — it’s out in the middle of the Mojave Desert, after all. But as the Motor City shows, this kind of thing is happening in what was once — and not that long ago — one of the most prosperous and beautiful cities in the U.S. (If you’ve never been to Detroit, please visit the Boston-Edison neighborhood to see some of the finest residential architecture in America.)

Maybe Mark Steyn’s on to something. Or maybe it’s just, you know, government-fueled creative destruction.

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.

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