In a TOTAL COLLAPSE the question is what would the government want the cities for? There would be no economy for 10 to 20 years. So what do they value the most? The same thing every prepare values, rural farmland will be the most valuable properties in the country. Cities will have no value for a long time.
Why, well we all know that nothing is being built in the U. S. anymore so what will the government use the cities for? There will be no jobs in the cities, no food, only buildings so why in the world would they waste there time in the cities? They will only circle the cities till the people kill them self off and in the end go in and finish what is left. That will be the easiest way. In all wars the cities end up on fire and the rural areas are taken over.