chapter  2
12 Pages

Ways to think about decline

In a study of six large U.S. cities that tried to intervene, that attempted to shift the underlying forces shaping economic and population forces, Perloff (1980) found that none considered the possibility of failure. In devising long-term plans to address urban problems, none of these cities confronted the possibility that their efforts to shape exogenous forces might not work. Perloff calls on planners to draw on decision theory in approaching possible futures. Decision theory suggests that the dangers and risks of certain outcomes are higher than others, therefore the risk that decline could occur (with all its potential dangers) ought to be part of community planning efforts. Perloff goes on to conclude his study of planning-in-action, stating that:

Growth is commonly regarded as an aid to reducing unemployment and raising levels of living within a city, but a review of the statistics suggest that the connections are often tenuous. Population growth in some cases attracts many unemployed persons and many poor families so that the problems remain or are exacerbated.