I am currently working on a comprehensive plan for one of the towns in my district to help the town plan for its future. There is a very different situation going on here than what most planners are thinking. How do you plan for a town that is not only not growing but declining in population? Here in Northwestern Iowa, populations have decline by a third in 30 years. Most of the youth have moved to bigger cities and all that remains are the elderly for the most part. Eventually, unless immigration helps, those people will pass on and the town will fall to almost nothing or become a ghost town. How do you write a plan for that? There is no hope for these towns and the best that can happen is to keep the decline at a low number.
My inclination is to write a plan that acknowledges that the population will decline.
How is the city going to handle the newly vacant housing that will go into disrepair and eventually become dilapidated?
How are people going to sell their houses that will lose their value as the town further slides?
For this discussion, I am not looking for possible actions that can save the town. I want to write a plan to help the town shrink to a size that can be manageable. Any thoughts?