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Demolishing Density in Detroit: Can Farming Save the Motor City?

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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 08:43 PM
Original message
Demolishing Density in Detroit: Can Farming Save the Motor City?
So it's come to this: Unable to provide basic services for all of his constituents, Detroit mayor Dave Bing is drafting plans starve his city down to a manageable size. Using proprietary data and a survey released by Data Driven Detroit, Bing and his staff will pick "winners and losers" amongst the city's neighborhoods and seek to resettle residents from the losers, those deemed most unlivable....And what will Bing do with all of that empty space? Turn over as many as 10,000 acres to John Hantz to farm...

The owner of an eponymous financial services firm, Hantz is prepared to sink $30 million of his personal fortune into coaxing peaches, plums, lettuce, and heirloom tomatoes from the ground (or in hydroponic greenhouses). In exchange, all he's asking for is free tax-delinquent land and tax breaks on agriculture. The city is considering giving him both. Hantz told Fortune he's aiming for an average cost of $3,000 per acre, valuing it no differently than outlying farmland. But he also promises to create hundreds of green jobs, grow a surplus of fresh produce for residents, attract tourists, and "reintroduce Detroiters to the beauty of nature..."

The city of Detroit may be a shadow of its former self, but metropolitan "Detroit" and its suburbs still contain 4.4 million people, more than metropolitan Phoenix, San Francisco or Seattle. And while Detroit may be shrinking in area, "Detroit" is doing anything but...Or as The Baffler's Will Boisvert makes the case:

" rational as all this sounds, it hangs on a grotesque misunderstanding of Detroit's predicament. Despite its ghost-town image, Detroit's population density is still actually rather high by American standards. The city is half again as dense as Portland, Oregon, substantially denser than the booming Sunbelt cities of Phoenix, Houston, and Dallas, denser even than Pittsburgh--all of them places that adequately fund city services. Detroit's problem is not underpopulation, but brute poverty, something that the grossly overstated efficiencies of shrinkage won't alleviate... And for all its anti-sprawl rhetoric, shrinkism is extravagantly wasteful from the larger perspective of metropolitan land use. It hollows out the dense core of metro-area settlement under the assumption--the ugly, unstated postulate of shrinkage--that decent people can't be enticed to live there. As city districts are razed and emptied, development is shunted, as usual, to cornfields on the exurban frontier, where people drive everywhere and nowhere--that's the green part of the equation..."

http://www.fastcompany.com/1571975/farming-the-city-in-order-to-save-it-demolishing-density-in-detroit
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bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. I suppose you would rather see Detroit bring back Kwame Kilpatrick
or that demagogue Coleman Young.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. lol. complete non-seq. that's all you got?
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JustABozoOnThisBus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Naw, Kwame's happy in Texas now
and I think we're happier that he moved to there.

:hi:
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gmoney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
3. "Decent people shouldn't live here. They'd be happier someplace else..."
Jack Napier, AKA the Joker (Batman, 1989)
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JustABozoOnThisBus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
4. 10,000 acres? That's a big plantation
even by antebellum South standards.

I wouldn't mind having bunches of little farm areas scattered through the city and farmed by resident organizations. But using eminent domain to amass a 10000 acre bloc for John "Massa" Hantz? I'd bet with a little shoveling, the corruption will be uncovered.

:hi:
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HillbillyBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. That sounds about right.
Edited on Fri Apr-09-10 09:02 PM by HillbillyBob
Where I live was once part of a Plantation of 1,000 acres and that is very large. We have just 9 acres 2 1/2 where our newer house is was abt 2 1/2 acres.

I think that the plots should be community gardens not a plantation owned by some corrupt pols butt boi.
edit to add,
Just more corporate grab.
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cutlassmama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. No doubt.
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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 09:19 PM
Response to Original message
8. What everyone is missing.. is that this is the blueprint for the future..
...We are going to go back to neighborhood shopping centers...Mom and Pop.. no more Big Box.

Public transportation will have to serve neighborhood centers and connect to Government buildings.

Excess land will be turned into community garden farms.. (that is if you want to eat)

There is no way in hell that we are ever going to return to the high-consumption easy-credit cheap-oil economy that we lived before.

The real crime is that our media and Government is not preparing people for the inevitable future that we are morphing into.

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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. bets? i bet "what's going to happen" is that the upper classes live in
the gated, high-tech, well-serviced cities, and the poor & working classes live in the run-down, poorly serviced, high-transportation expense burbs.
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
10. Sounds almost colonial... taking property, moving people against their will..
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. new enclosure movement?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclosure


There's a new one every 30 years or so; the lower classes are always shuffled around the globe to make money for the upper ones.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
12. Part of the PRoblem They Are trying to solve
is compressing the need for services like water and sewers and trash pickup, police and fire protection to a more manageable size. Then there is bringing the school children into closer range with fewer schools that reduce overhead and maintenance.

The idea of letting one man control so much property is obscene--but he will probably go bankrupt doing it and then it will revert to small truck farms.

The grandiose plans of these "businessmen" are predicated on the "Big is Better-Economies of Scale" notion, which only works in times of increasing demand.

What we have now is not increasing demand, but demand for increasing quality and decreasing costs. Any for-profit venture will fail, by definition. Mass production no longer gives a fig for quality control or product improvement. All they care about is the bottom line for the next quarter. Such preoccupations will not rebuild a city or a society.

5 years should prove that these "business" ventures are doomed. And then, perhaps, the concept of community socialism will prevail.
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