This recent NPR story discusses plans to remake Detroit, which requires heavy urban planning and editing (read: demolishing) to create thriving pockets within the sprawled and decaying city. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126967991
This is the first redesigning attempt of its kind in the US, but this type of heavy government planning has already been exercised in Europe to keep its urban areas stable. A few years ago, I watched old Communist-made apartments being torn down to become green space in Eastern Germany because they were mostly vacant, as the government had encouraged people to repopulate the old areas of the city.
Would it be better, in the US, to consider the heavier use of urban planning and reuse? Environmentally? For economic sustainability? Other reasons?