Skip to comments.Imagining Detroit (Replacing uban decay with farms)
Posted on 05/18/2011 12:46:12 AM PDT by Brad from Tennessee
Detroit was once called the Paris of the West, but at this point its more reminiscent of Venice. Like Venice, its demise has been imminent for some time, as crucial businesses and huge chunks of the population flee. * * * * Imagine blocks that once boasted 30 houses, now with three; imagine hundreds of such blocks. Imagine the green space created by the citys heartbreaking but intelligent policy of removing burnt-out or fallen-down houses. Now look at the corner of one such street, where a young man who has used the citys adopt-a-lot program (it costs nothing) to establish an orchard, a garden and a would-be community center on three lots, one with a standing house. (The land, like many of the gardens, belongs to the city and is leased for a year at a time. But no one seems especially concerned about the city repossessing.)A young man who adopts eight lots and has bought another three has an operation that grows every year and trains eager young people. A Capuchin monastery operates gardens spanning 24 lots. . .
(more at link)
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...
Yeah, “farms”. Must be a liberal “green” fantasy. Turn the cities of the “postindustrial” USA into “clean” farms and let China be the “filthy” manufacturing cesspool, I mean powerhouse.
Usually liberals get all hopped up over any hint of toxic contamination of land, but nobody’s asking whether these plots have residues of arsenic, mercury, lead, or other hazardous household wastes sufficient to get into the produce of the gardens. Even land like that might be good for growing flowers, but there ought to be a way of checking it.
How wonderful. The democrat party has finally gotten back to their roots!!!
Those folks democrat fascist love so much are back down on the welfare plantations and can work with the earth all day in exchange for their benefit check. Then, at night they can sing and dance, tell stories and talk about what the democrat leadership is doing up in the big house. If only it was a suitable place to grow cotton.
No one is willing to waste a good device there... Cost/benefit analysis and whatnot.
I an so evil in spirit that I welcome my death.
It must seem weird. Maybe even better, let the city turn back into woods and forests.
Letter from a lawyer came. Remember that guy that stumbled over a rake last month? He wants his medical bills paid...now, or he sues the owner, the city.
What's the red tag? Health in specter’s warning. For what? Who cares...his brother owns a market in a strip mall.
What could go wrong?
Not to be the skunk at the picnic among my fellow freepers, but I think this is a splendid idea. It took far too long. I’ve been saying to do this in abandoned neighborhoods in Cleveland for a decade.
I’ll love it even more if the gardens/orchards/farms are operated as private enterprises, rather than collectives. Yes, profit generating entities. This article demonstrates once again, that capitalism succeeds every place it is earnestly tried. Imagine, someone thought to sell, via delivery, fresh produce in areas where many people are without autos. And I suspect there are no supermarkets in the area to buy fresh produce, either. To the residents, this must feel like a godsend.
And don’t underestimate the value of gardening outside all day long in the summer; you’re too damn tired to get into any trouble. :)
In case you want to alert the usual suspects, boss!
That`s a really good point. The EPA required DOD to do exhaustive studies of soil contaminations and other eco-impact prior to closing military bases. One would think that that would be a consideration for a broken-down Rust Belt city, much of which is about to be plowed under.
In theory it’s a good idea, but sounds inefficient to me.
Maintaining the road, water and electricity grid over 50 square miles with 20% population costs 5x as much as maintaining 10 SM fully populated.
Instead of having a sparsely populated “city” of large geographical area, it would make a lot more sense to abandon entire areas and return it to agriculture and create a much smaller but still densely populated city.
black farmer subsidies?
I’m sure it’s inefficient, short term.
I’m banking on free-market capitalism and entrepreneurs. This is a concept that truly needs to be introduced in these decaying urban areas, like Detroit & my beloved hometown of Cleveland. Too many big unions, too much dependency, too much LIBERALISM, have killed off these places. I’m hoping a return to first principles sparks a new day.
Perhaps, once there are enough “farmers” someone will acquire the capital to put up a farmers market. And the locals who still want to make deliveries can still do so. That means someone will not only need an extra truck but some auto place to service that truck! Hopefully, they buy gas from a local station. Maybe a cooking school will spring up. Or maybe young people will begin to become interested in this stuff again; most kids have no idea what real food is or where it comes from.
I’m always trying to walk on the sunny side of the street. :)
I smell a massive democrat scam in the making. The soil in that area is loaded with decades of urban decay. And large portions of the waterfronts are soo toxic, any fish that dares venture in ends up floating soon after.
And exactly what crops would they plan on growing up there given the geography and climate?
Yes... green, postindustrial COLLECTIVE, communal farms... where everything is shared and nothing is owned.
Where, during the day, children attend indoctrination classes glorifying the Rev - “O” - lution.
Where happy, smiling, contented workers sing songs — in unison, of course — praising The One while toiling in the fields until sundown.
Where, at the end of each workday, the people of the new, liberated land ... relieved of the burdens of self-determination, personal “freedom”and organized religious faith.. gaze lovingly at 500-foot murals of Obama the Supreme smiling toward the skies.
Where, after opening as ordered with celebratory chants thanking the One for deliverance from the evil past, the people wait silently and obediently.. beneath the ubiquitous guard towers... in column formation with assigned, government-owned farming tools laying beside them.. for pre-recorded words of praise from the One Himself...
Where their hearts swoon as they hear the first teleprompter - generated words emerged from the loudspeakers...
“My dear subjects..”
I agree with you. Either do it there or, “Coming to a neighborhood near you”. The people who are suffering aren’t the a$$ wipes that destroyed the city. The idiots who couldn’t make an honest (non-corrupt) decision if their lives depended on it have long gone to find some other community to help with “the man’s” money. Community, hell they’re part of the president’s cabinet/czarism.
The libs will wave their magic fairy dust and wands over the land and pronounce it clean.
Since the land is leased from the corrupt feudal lord, the City of Detroit, any growing success and profit that is significant enough to be noticed by the bureaucrats will soon be swarmed by a mass of government leeches and ultimately crushed like an orchid under the hooves of a donkey.
I thought the police/fire were encouraging them to move the remaining population into a more compact, manageable area (and that the city intended to do this).
Your depiction of the green society actually gave me shivers. I think this is exactly how the liberals who destroyed these once great cities think.
Agree. It's no surprise to see thread peppered with naysayers. I guess it's understandable why there is so much pessimism abroad. But, when folks stand up and actually DO something, when folks TRY to achieve and create, why do some folks feel the need to deride and mock?
Detroit was, is, and will be the case study of what happens when liberal politicians remain in power too long. California, New York, and several other states will provide a larger scale example.
The economic impact must be massive for the writer confessed that Detroit had to condemn and then destroy multiple city blocks because Detroit couldn't afford to provide basic civic services.
Where will Detroit go next?
The industrial base that made large cities possible is gone and quite probably will never return. With that loss goes money, the “live blood” that made the city possible. Bottom line - Detroit as I remember reading about is gone. But, unfortunately the drones, aka the political class, that feed of the city haven't left.
Eventually these new gardens and what ever economy, based on farmer markets?, will also disappear much like the heavy industries did. Why?
When you look at a society you discover that there are two “knuckles” it is development curve. While the sources of the economy will change these knuckles remain.
The first knuckle occurs when the economic community becomes self sustaining. It generates enough activity that the younger members don't have to move away to survive. The leading edge of this first knuckle drove our expansion to the west, the immigration waves, and the formation of cities. The trailing edge of this knuckle was the explosive economic growth that occurred between 1890 and 1920 - robber barons and all.
The second knuckle occurs when the economic community can no longer handle the toxic waste generated by its citizens. This waste comes in many forms - increased crime rates, collapse of the family elements, urban blight, and “quality of ;life” issues. There are medical elements too but they are very controversial. Another symptom is the concentration of economic and political power because the problems being faced are ‘too big for us to solve alone”. The trailing edge of this knuckle is Europe and Detroit today.
The good news, I think, is the whole thing is cyclic. As the economic curve follows the trailing edge of the second knuckle it reaches the self sustaining first knuckle and the cycle begins anew.
You are depressingly correct in your assessment.
IIRC, Detroit’s govt changed to liberal/progressive in early 60’s and the Feds gve it gazillions of taxpayer money to “evolve” to the utopian city they dreamed could exist.
The results have been catastrophic and the Halloween “Devils Night” destruction that began in late 60’s was just a precursor of things to come.
While I share your fear, good grief, I hope they have learned their lesson by now.
Bing is tryin’. I truly feel for the man. He seems like a good guy who is trying to to the right thing.
Why not? The Obama White House has a sludge garden. Just take the project to a city sized level.
How about replacing all the liberalism (same definition as urban decay) with conservatism. There's something they havent tried.
Just about any vegetable garden crop that can be grown elsewhere in the country.
I live in central Illinois, with a similar climate and grow a number of vegetables.
I keep remembering Mother Teresa’s battle to not put in an elevator in a building where no one wanted one. She stopped using the building as I recall.
Bing reminds me a little of Michael R. White, the former mayor of Cleveland in the 1990’s. A black fella (young in those days) who ran as a Democrat, of course. But he governed as a pro-business Republican, pretty damn conservative. AND he was conservative on social issues. He formed his own slate of candidates (whose names all began with the letter L), and had them run as “The 4 Ls” to once and for all get rid of the liberal white cabal ruining the Cleveland schools.
He also stood up against the race baiting city council members once he learned that they were allowing the school district to drop off busloads of inner city teenagers at the brand spanking new Tower City shopping complex. He was trying to attract business to this downtown retail area and they were trying to stab him in the back by making Tower City a district bus stop. These teenagers amazingly resembled gangs and scared the daytime office workers out of the place. He got in the face of these city council members who cried “racism” and reminded them that he needs people to spend money in the city limits and not the suburban malls, so they can operate the city.
Finally, he was the one who DEMANDED that the NFL replace the football team that Art Modell took to Baltimore. He made such a nuisance of himself, and raised so much hell, it wasn’t funny. And then he threatened Paul Tagliabue, telling him that if he didn’t promise a replacement team, they would enforce the “specific performance” portion of the stadium lease. Which would have frozen Modell in place for 3 years at the old stadium with ZERO fans in the stands.
In Cleveland, doesn’t matter if the person is black or white, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat: They will tell you that Michael R. White was one of the best mayors in Cleveland history.
I hope he and Bing are in contact with each other.
They might be trying it now with these mini-farms!
the solution is simple....remove all epa rules for these area’s....bulldoze houses, asbestos and all, into the basements of the homes...get prisoners, offer them time off from their sentences for work, have them tear up the streets, and dump said concrete into the basements also. Now, we have just had floods of historical proportions in the mississippi river basin. After the clean up, the soil has to be trucked somewhere....I wonder where it could go?
Bing seems like a good guy with a good moral compass. No doubt he has his hands full but somehow he needs to destroy the thug-socialism to be able to implement any meaningful economic programs.
White sounds like he was an exception to the typical d-RAT politician.
btw, I knew a Jane from Blufton,OH who later moved to Memphis. Your screen name reminds me of her and the “America” song of “Daisy Jane”...just rambling thoughts this moning as I get my morning coffee IV.
i’ve been saying for years, lease parts of the city out for urban combat training and firefighter training. that’ll both bring income to the city and state (which is badly needed in MI), as well as will raze a number of the abandoned and condemned houses to open the area up for new development.
flint and benton harbor could also benefit from this.
Ever watch the movie “I Am Legend”? That’s Detroit in the very near future.
Excellent summary! If any of these enterprises are successful there will be an swarm of locusts coming to feed on their labors.
Not me, but the whole Daisy Jane thing did come up on our very long music thread last week! LOL
After I typed my post to you, I went back and re-read the bio of Michael R. White on Wiki. It’s about as I remember it. I had forgotten, though, that he was the longest serving mayor in Cleveland history. And he could have served longer, had he wanted to put up with the BS. The city has NEVER been the same.
I wish he’d write a book. It would be a blueprint of how a black mayor could get control of a majority black city, and will help it prosper, with the help of white business.
They can probably grow most vegetables and fruits, but it would be a pretty short growing season. This is a half year activity at best.
I think the NYT writer has given this about ten times more importance than it deserves.
Ummmm, not to rain on your parade, but your commentary on the toxicity of the waterways is not accurate. “The soil is loaded with decades of urban decay”? I’m not even sure what that means, but they’re talking about old residential neighborhoods, not former toxic dumps or industrial areas. Exactly what crops? You do know Michigan has one very good growing season, right?
2009 Rank among states:
Soybeans & products 12th
Feed grains & products 13th
Other (whatever that means) 12th
Vegetables & preparations 9th
Fruit & preparations 5th
Michigan is 3rd in apples (Washington, NY), and leads the nation in tart cherries.
If you simply said “Detroit is a shithole”, which I think was your overall intent, you would have been right. Otherwise you have some misconceptions about Michigan crop production, and probably many other things. When the world thinks of Michigan, it thinks Detroit. Living here we are aware of the whole package, and other than harsh winters and far too many Dems, it’s pretty awesome.
Looks like they’ll be needing an Agriculture Czar.
The same toxic climate of corrupt politicians backed by union thugs still exists, even if they grew marijuana on those farms, it would still implode financially once they demand union scale wages at all of the farms.
We used to call it "Benton Harlem".
The socialist end-game is serfdom.
If Detroit isn't careful, they're going to shoot themselves in the foot on this. They need to excercise emminent domain, else if they just let squatters take over the land, after a decade (two at the most), whoever has been using the land has title lock stock and barrel.
On the other hand, if the title does transfer to the squatters they might be liable for whatever outstanding back taxes there may be from the former residences. I'm ignorant about the real-estate legalities. One thing certain, whomever does take title to the land will at the very least have additional property tax liability from that time forward.
In any case, with the projected urban sprawl over the next decade or two, eventually all those undeveloped acres of prairie (or woodland) will be a pretty ripe plumb for somebody's picking. Detroit is 143 mi2 of area. Suppose 1/2 of it goes feral?
Why would anybody want to move out to 40, 50 or even 60 mile road, when there's prime rural real-estate available smack in the middle of Metropolis?
Yeah, farms. Must be a liberal green fantasy. Turn the cities of the postindustrial USA into clean farms and let China be the filthy manufacturing cesspool, I mean powerhouse.
People need to eat, nothing to be ashamed about farming all great cites at one time was farmland even NYC.
So many grand homes have been abandoned and gutted many now are just empty lots.
When I left Detroit in 70’s at no time was it even a thought to check the cost of gas going to the east coast.
For now the cost of living is not what it use to be I remember in the early 70’s Sunco you could buy 5 gals for $1.00 can you imagine today 19 cent a gallon.
This was under Nixon during Watergate and than Cater happen...
This is what was seen in the future a talk given in 1965
LDS Prophets warn us of the dangers facing America
Isn’t his what Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge tried to do? remove people from cities, shutter schools, close factories, take property and plow it all under and turn it into farm land?
That seemed to work out just fine.