While it has not happened in any significant numbers, banks and builders have recently turned to bulldozing as a way of dealing with unwanted vacant properties.  Now the government is consider doing this on a larger scale- taking out whole neighborhoods: [Hat tip Freedom's Phoenix.]

Dozens of US cities may have entire neighborhoods bulldozed as part of drastic "shrink to survive" proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.

The government is looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.

The radical experiment is the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint.

Having outlined his strategy to Barack Obama during the election campaign, Mr Kildee has now been approached by the US government and a group of charities who want him to apply what he has learned to the rest of the country.

Mr Kildee said he will concentrate on 50 cities, identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution, an influential Washington think-tank, as potentially needing to shrink substantially to cope with their declining fortunes.

While Kildee indicated that they were focusing on Rustbelt cities, the idea has merit for other areas.  There are developments in the far outreaches of former boom areas that are unlikely to reach build-out in the next hundred years.  Leaving them as modern day versions of ghost towns only leaves a blight on the landscape and acts as a magnet for criminal activity.

Waiting for a buyer to come along is not a practical solution for many vacant homes across the nation.  Growth is not inevitable, and neither is recovery.  In many instances, tearing homes down is likely to be the most cost effective and practical solution.