Das Detroit-Syndrom

SINGAPUR – Als die Stadt Detroit letzte Woche Insolvenz anmeldete, war dies die größte Pleite dieser Art in der Geschichte der Vereinigten Staaten. Die Bevölkerung der Stadt, einst die fünftgrößte Amerikas, war von 1,8 Millionen im Jahr 1950 auf weniger als 700.000 heute zurückgegangen. Die industrielle Basis der Stadt ist zerstört.

Und trotzdem leben wir in einer Welt, in der Städte noch so hoch im Kurs waren wie heute. Erstmals in der Geschichte lebt über die Hälfte der Weltbevölkerung in Städten, und städtische Knotenpunkte erwirtschaften schätzungsweise 80% des weltweiten BIP. Im Zuge der rapiden Urbanisierung der Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländer werden diese Anteile noch weiter steigen. Was also kann die Welt aus der Not Detroits lernen?

Noch in den 1990er Jahren waren viele Experten der Ansicht, Technologie würde die Städte irrelevant machen. Sie glaubten, das Internet und der Mobilfunk, die damals noch in den Kinderschuhen steckten, würden es überflüssig machen, dass Menschen in dicht bevölkerten und teuren Stadtzentren leben müssen. Stattdessen sind die Einwohnerzahlen von Städten wie New York und London nach Jahrzehnten des Rückgangs seit 1990 stark gestiegen.

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