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Shrinking Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes
AFP ^ | Sun Aug 14, 5:03 PM ET

Posted on 08/15/2005 3:32:16 AM PDT by TimeLord

DETROIT, United States (AFP) - Rats or lead poisoning. When it comes to the threats from the broken down house next door, Dorothy Bates isn't sure which is worse.

"When it's lightening and thundering you can hear the bricks just falling," the 40-year-old nurse said as she looked at the smashed windows and garbage-strewn porch. "If you call and ask (the city) about it they say they don't have the funds to tear it down."

There are more than 12,000 abandoned homes in the Detroit area, a byproduct of decades of layoffs at the city's auto plants and white flight to the suburbs. And despite scores of attempts by government and civic leaders to set the city straight, the automobile capitol of the world seems trapped in a vicious cycle of urban decay.

Detroit has lost more than half its population since its heyday in the 1950's. The people who remain are mostly black -- 83 percent -- and mostly working class, with 30 percent of the population living below the poverty line according to the US Census Bureau.

The schools are bad. The roads are full of potholes. Crime is high and so are taxes. The city is in a budget crisis so deep it could end up being run by the state.

And it just got knocked off the list of the nation's ten largest cities.

"Detroit has become an icon of what's considered urban decline," said June Thomas, a professor of urban and regional planning at Michigan State University.

"The issue is not just getting people in the city. It's getting people in the city who can become property owners and stay property owners and pay taxes."

Perhaps the biggest challenge to luring the middle class from the area's swank suburbs is overcoming racial tensions, said Stephen Vogel, dean of the school of architecture at University of Detroit Mercy.

"Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

Most American cities have experienced a shift towards the suburbs.

What made Detroit's experience so stark was the lack of regional planning and the ease with which developments were able to incorporate into new cities in order to avoid sharing their tax revenue with the city, said Margaret Dewar, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan.

The fleeing businesses and homeowners left behind about 36 square miles (58 square kilometers) of vacant land. That's roughly the size of San Francisco and about a quarter of Detroit's total land mass.

While a decision by General Motors to build its new headquarters smack in the middle of downtown has helped lure young professionals and spark redevelopment in some of the more desirable neighborhoods, there is little hope the vacant land will be filled any time soon.

In his state of the city address, embattled mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said even if 10,000 new homes were built every year for the next 15 years "we wouldn't fill up our city."

And Detroit is still losing about 10,000 people every year.

One solution Vogel has proposed is to turn swaths of the city into farmland. In the four years since his students initiated a pilot project dozens of community gardens and small farms have popped up.

But first the city has to get rid of the crumbling buildings that haunt the streets, luring criminals, arsonists and wild animals and creating a general sense of hopelessness.

"It's partly a resource issue and it's partly a bureaucracy issue," said Eric Dueweke, the community partnership manager at the University of Michigan's College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

"It takes them forever to find the proper owners of the properties and serve them with the proper paperwork," he said. "They're tearing them down at the rate of 1,500 or 2,000 a year, so they're really not cutting into the backlog in any significant way because that's how many are coming on stream."

Dorothy Bates has been waiting three years for the crumbling house next door to be torn down. There are nine more on her short block along with several vacant lots that are overgrown with weeds.

Bates does her best to keep her five children away from the rat nests, but the lead creeping out of crumbling bricks and peeling paint drifts in through her windows.

The most frustrating part of it, says her neighbor Larry, is that so many of the abandoned houses could be repaired. The foundations are solid. The buildings are beautiful. Or at least, they were once.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: bluezone; detroit; liberalfailure; urbandecay
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Just a week ago, Detroit was named the most liberal city in America. Now it's in utter decay. Can the liberal media make the connection? NOPE!
1 posted on 08/15/2005 3:32:17 AM PDT by TimeLord
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To: TimeLord
"Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

I want to survive, therefore I must be racist to avoid SE DC.

2 posted on 08/15/2005 3:35:27 AM PDT by palmer (If you see flies at the entrance to the burrow, the ground hog is probably inside)
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To: TimeLord

Well maybe now folks will have a place to stay during the Super Bowl.


3 posted on 08/15/2005 3:36:43 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
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To: TimeLord
The schools are bad. The roads are full of potholes. Crime is high and so are taxes. The city is in a budget crisis so deep it could end up being run by the state.

Welcome to the "most liberal" city in the United States.

4 posted on 08/15/2005 3:36:57 AM PDT by MichiganMan (Thank Michael Moore for 2004!!)
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To: TimeLord

What's with all the Detroit pieces lately? It's bad enough having to live by it, now I have to read about it all the time too. Bleech.


5 posted on 08/15/2005 3:37:05 AM PDT by ShadowDancer (As for the types of comments I make,sometimes I just, By God,get carried away with my own eloquence.)
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To: TimeLord

My husband had to fly there this morning. He'll be there for 3 days. He'd rather go anywhere but Detroit. No offense, I'm sure there are parts of the city he hasn't seen which are nice, but what he has seen, he doesn't care for.


6 posted on 08/15/2005 3:37:27 AM PDT by kassie ("It's the soldier who allows freedom of speech, not the reporter..")
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To: TimeLord

Sorta reminds a person of what happens when the "colonial powers" leave an African country...


7 posted on 08/15/2005 3:37:30 AM PDT by chadwimc
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To: TimeLord

"but the lead creeping out of crumbling bricks and peeling paint drifts in through her windows."

Lead in bricks?


8 posted on 08/15/2005 3:37:42 AM PDT by Rebelbase ("Run Hillary Run" bumper stickers. Liberals place on rear bumper, conservatives put on front bumper)
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To: Rebelbase

Detroit the most liberal city in America:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1463364/posts


9 posted on 08/15/2005 3:40:18 AM PDT by TimeLord (A whale fetus is a whale; a human fetus is a blob.)
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To: TimeLord
"If you call and ask (the city) about it they say they don't have the funds to tear it down."

I don't know. A couple of well placed sticks of TNT couldn't cost that much.

10 posted on 08/15/2005 3:40:27 AM PDT by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: TimeLord
Crime is high and so are taxes

Another connection to the population loss that they seem unable to make!

11 posted on 08/15/2005 3:40:56 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: TimeLord

"helped lure young professionals and spark redevelopment in some of the more desirable neighborhoods"

If the chardonnay socialists are intent on moving back to the city, perhaps we should too eh? </sacrasm>


12 posted on 08/15/2005 3:42:35 AM PDT by NZerFromHK ("US libs...hypocritical, naive, pompous...if US falls it will be because of these" - Tao Kit (HK))
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To: TimeLord

on the cutting edge of emminent domain, islamist stronghold...well, all that's irrelevant, i'm sure. But Ted Nugent is from there, that's cool.


13 posted on 08/15/2005 3:43:48 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (see my FR page for a link to the tribute to Terri Schaivo, a short video presentation.)
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To: TimeLord

"What made Detroit's experience so stark was the lack of regional planning and the ease with which developments were able to incorporate into new cities in order to avoid sharing their tax revenue with the city, said Margaret Dewar, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan."

This is the reason so many are so fond of the concept of 'smart development' and opposed to 'suburban sprawl'. They want to prevent you from moving out of slums like Detriot so they can have your tax money to spend on liberal programs that created the slums in the first place.


14 posted on 08/15/2005 3:46:36 AM PDT by DugwayDuke (Stupidity can be a self-correcting problem.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

Ted moved from here to Crawford, Texas not long ago. One of the last conservative "high profile" people in Michigan took off... leaving us to fend for ourselves.


15 posted on 08/15/2005 3:47:55 AM PDT by RightWingReader
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To: TimeLord
"Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

Racism? No
Fear of violent crime? Yes.
16 posted on 08/15/2005 3:48:07 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: TimeLord
"Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism REALITY and fear."
17 posted on 08/15/2005 3:48:11 AM PDT by bikepacker67
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To: TimeLord
But first the city has to get rid of the crumbling buildings that haunt the streets, luring criminals, arsonists and wild animals and creating a general sense of hopelessness.

Well... yes, but aside from the crumbling buildings, criminals, arsonists and wild animals, its white people's racism that is keeping people out of Detroit.

18 posted on 08/15/2005 3:48:15 AM PDT by MichiganMan (Thank Michael Moore for 2004!!)
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To: NZerFromHK

no housing bubble in Detroit at least


19 posted on 08/15/2005 3:48:17 AM PDT by babble-on
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To: palmer
I want to survive, therefore I must be racist to avoid SE DC.

Bingo!

20 posted on 08/15/2005 3:49:43 AM PDT by Shalom Israel (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

Sorry, He/s from Jackson. A significant step up..


21 posted on 08/15/2005 3:51:02 AM PDT by Quick Shot
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To: TimeLord
"Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

I don't get it. How is someone moving their dead relatives out of the cemetery b/c they're afraid to go to the cemetery showing "the depth of racism"?

22 posted on 08/15/2005 3:51:46 AM PDT by GBA
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To: MichiganMan
Well... yes, but aside from the crumbling buildings, criminals, arsonists and wild animals, its white people's racism that is keeping people out of Detroit.

Well, of course! My goodness, that just goes w/o saying, doesn't it?

23 posted on 08/15/2005 3:52:26 AM PDT by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: TimeLord
This is a great article that I'll tell every lib I hear weezing about "affordable" housing to read.

There's plenty of houaing around it's just not where they want to live.

24 posted on 08/15/2005 3:53:10 AM PDT by ninonitti
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To: RightWingReader

don't cry. at least you ha-ha-haaaave (snickers)bwhaha Bob bwahah Bob Seeeheeeheeeheeger@!!!!!bwahahahahahahahah@! (just funnin' ya). Oh,and Madonna!!!! bwahahahahahahahahahahahahah!


25 posted on 08/15/2005 3:54:41 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (see my FR page for a link to the tribute to Terri Schaivo, a short video presentation.)
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To: TimeLord
Big cities in America are run by liberals. But none has been so badly mismanaged as Detroit. And it ain't the racism, its just the policy choices made by Detroit's leaders - poor planning, higher taxes and stifling bureaucracy. All of which has set back the city's growth and actually led to its hemorrhaging population. Yes, its the policies, stupid.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
26 posted on 08/15/2005 3:56:49 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: TimeLord
Cool photos of the disappearing history in Detroit, from a Detroit thread a few days ago.
27 posted on 08/15/2005 3:56:50 AM PDT by P.O.E. (.)
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To: kassie

"I'm sure there are parts of the city which are nice"

No there isn't. You obviously have never been there!


28 posted on 08/15/2005 3:58:22 AM PDT by bella1 (red county, blue state)
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To: TimeLord

Yes, the most liberal city and the most depressing city.


29 posted on 08/15/2005 3:58:50 AM PDT by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
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To: TimeLord

The city is having trouble locating the owners of these properties? I find that hard to believe. Whom do they send the property tax bill to? Besides, if it absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight, call the Marines. Another solution (and fairly common) is to have the fire department set old abandoned houses ablaze for training purposes. In fact, the city could bring other departments in for training.


30 posted on 08/15/2005 3:59:37 AM PDT by bobjam
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To: babble-on

I agree. I was there in 2003 visiting my brother in the suburbs and the thing I noticed at the "better" parts of the Detroit city proper was sealed windows on buildings. It's simple to extrapolate on what the really bad neighbourhoods look like...


31 posted on 08/15/2005 3:59:59 AM PDT by NZerFromHK ("US libs...hypocritical, naive, pompous...if US falls it will be because of these" - Tao Kit (HK))
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To: the invisib1e hand

Correct me if i'm wrong, but I believe Ted Nugent is from Ann Arbor.....or was that Bob Seger??


32 posted on 08/15/2005 4:00:07 AM PDT by bella1 (red county, blue state)
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To: TimeLord
Here is your answer:

There are more than 12,000 abandoned homes in the Detroit area, a byproduct of decades of layoffs at the city's auto plants and white flight to the suburbs.

Also, see the remark form some academic hack about "a lack of regional planning" and "tax-sharing."

You see it is really all the fault of those evil corporations and those bigoted white people that have the cheek to move out.

Whose else could possibly be at fault? Honestly now! What coulls you be thinking? I am surprised that you even had to wonder about this for only a second.

33 posted on 08/15/2005 4:00:36 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: TimeLord

Behold, the most liberal city in the country according to that recent study.


34 posted on 08/15/2005 4:01:03 AM PDT by Lauretij2
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To: Shalom Israel; palmer

Are there any livable majority minority cities?


35 posted on 08/15/2005 4:02:11 AM PDT by Jacquerie (Democrats soil the institutions they control)
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To: bella1
You're safer across the river at night in Windsor. No one stays out late at night in downtown Detroit.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
36 posted on 08/15/2005 4:02:32 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: chadwimc

Yep.


37 posted on 08/15/2005 4:03:39 AM PDT by Shawndell Green (Mecca delenda est!)
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To: bella1

I don't think Ted Nugent is from Bob Seger.


38 posted on 08/15/2005 4:05:00 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (see my FR page for a link to the tribute to Terri Schaivo, a short video presentation.)
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To: DugwayDuke

Timelord...white racism is dead. The only racism I see anymore is from Black America.


39 posted on 08/15/2005 4:07:24 AM PDT by IC Ken
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To: palmer

Yes it's interesting how wanting to avoid being murdered is a racist thing. Shows just how bad it is when people are having their deceased relatives moved to safer cemeteries.


40 posted on 08/15/2005 4:08:40 AM PDT by Klickitat
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To: bella1
No there isn't.

Yes there are. Unfortunately, each of these areas comprises only about two city blocks each.

41 posted on 08/15/2005 4:08:51 AM PDT by ShadowDancer (As for the types of comments I make,sometimes I just, By God,get carried away with my own eloquence.)
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To: bella1

Actually I have been there, many times. We used to live in Ottawa Lake. We stayed mainly on the freeways, which were like washboards.


42 posted on 08/15/2005 4:09:16 AM PDT by kassie ("It's the soldier who allows freedom of speech, not the reporter..")
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To: TimeLord

Of course, it's the racism!

Will they ever learn?


43 posted on 08/15/2005 4:09:53 AM PDT by Sometimes A River (Che Guevera isn't cool)
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To: palmer

taking route 50 from college park to downtown d.c isn't much better. Adams morgan where the rent is high in northwest d.c still has plenty of crime.


44 posted on 08/15/2005 4:10:34 AM PDT by johnmecainrino
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To: yankeedame

Or, why doesn't the city just give it to anyone who promises to raze the old building.


45 posted on 08/15/2005 4:10:49 AM PDT by drlevy88
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To: TimeLord
I lived in Detroit for a summer after my freshman year at college back in 1972. I worked in the Ford River Rouge Plant in the steel mill. Made good money. I lived down by Wayne St. University in a cheap apartment that I shared with a fraternity brother.

Even back then there was block after block with lots of empty houses. It was such a shame, because so many of the empty houses were so obviously well made and sturdy. The reason people abandon their property like that is because of the crime. It was like a war zone. No matter how nice your house is, it is not worth getting killed over.

I notice that the professor did not mention the role that the fair housing laws played in the demise of Detroit.
46 posted on 08/15/2005 4:12:21 AM PDT by Shawndell Green (Mecca delenda est!)
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To: GBA

Just like the Arabs blame the Jews for every problem they encounter, black liberals blame whites for every problem they encounter.


47 posted on 08/15/2005 4:15:11 AM PDT by Sometimes A River (Che Guevera isn't cool)
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To: drlevy88

Then how would Mayor Kwame and his cronies profit from that?


48 posted on 08/15/2005 4:16:01 AM PDT by Sometimes A River (Che Guevera isn't cool)
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To: Rebelbase
Lead in bricks?

Yeah, you never heard the expression, "went over like a lead brick"? Or something like that.

49 posted on 08/15/2005 4:16:16 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Jacquerie
Are there any livable majority minority cities?

Not that I know of--but I don't know about every city. There might be in the south somewhere.

Still, I don't blame the residents primarily: blacks are the favorite target of liberal do-gooders, so it's no wonder that their family structure is destroyed, their youth are stuck on the streets, and their mothers are stuck in a cycle of welfare.

I do know plenty of minorities who have escaped that liberal purgatory, and they're like anyone else in the middle class--the drugs, gangs and crime are not a problem with them.

50 posted on 08/15/2005 4:16:41 AM PDT by Shalom Israel (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.)
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