SEARCH BLOG: DETROIT
From The New Republic:
The Detroit Project
A plan for solving America’s greatest urban disaster.
For much of the United States, Detroit has become shorthand for failure--not just because of the dilapidation of the town’s iconic industry, but because the entire metropolis seems like a dystopian disaster. It is the second-most-segregated metropolitan area in the country; the city’s population is 82 percent African American. No other American city has shed more people since 1950--Detroit is only half its former size. Its city government fails at the most basic tasks. A call to 911 will bring a response, on average, in about 20 minutes. (Such emergency calls are depressingly common in the metropolitan area: There are 1,220 violent crimes per 100,000 people.) And that’s to say nothing of corruption in the municipal ranks. This year alone, at least 48 Detroit public-school employees have been investigated for fraud--which might help explain why only one in four high school freshmen ever receives a diploma. Unemployment in Detroit stands at a staggering 28 percent. And, in key measures of economic vitality in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan regions, Detroit finishes dead last.
I had written the following to Mr. Katz on December 3:
This is a case for the State of Michigan to declare "eminent domain" and get the job done. That $18 billion in 2008 just sort of disappeared. It should have been used to clear out vast tracts of unsalvageable properties.
I read with interest your paper, "The Detroit Project," in the December 2 issue of The New Republic. As a resident of Detroit suburbs for nearly 40 years and having worked in downtown Detroit during the 1990s, I can attest to the fact the Detroit represents the worst of U.S. cities.
The same or similar concept you describe was presented in the Detroit Free Press in May [abstract]. The idea of large parks and some agriculture mixed in with concentrations of homes or businesses seems appealing. The problem is that Detroit residents simply lack the skills, education, leadership, resources, or focus to attain such a transformation. Detroit is a predominantly black city of predominantly under-educated, lower-income individuals. That may sound racially charged and biased, but it is simply a fact [see the first link below]. Overall, the percentage of unemployed is about the same as the percentage of vacant/abandoned/derelict parcels. A recent infusion of federal funds has barely made a difference.
I have written several times regarding the Detroit situation including, but not limited to the following:
The point of these posts is that the most straightforward way to salvage Detroit is to retrench. Detroit reached its present geographic area through annexation as its economy and population expanded. It is time to split off areas that cannot be supported through the present resources of the city. 138 sq. mi. is just too great an area for 800,000 people to fill and support when those people cannot support themselves. Two generations have presided over the decline of Detroit. Given the present economic situation in the U.S. and Michigan in particular, the likelihood of creating a viable city of 138 sq. mi. is quite remote. A myriad of problems, not the least of which are 1960s-style unions, massive corruption, high taxes, high crime, and a "[poor]black-[sub]culture" mentality of the populace makes it unlikely that well-educated, highly-resourceful, non-blacks will move back to rescue the city.
- Black Cities Oct 01, 2009
- Looking At Detroit From The Outside Sep 28, 2009
- rezoning detroit not enough Jul 19, 2009
- now is the time to reorganize detroit May 16, 2009
- detroit needs bankruptcy and reorganization Apr 05, 2009
- detroit - same old same old Oct 26, 2008
- not like detroit Oct 05, 2006
Detroit's business and cultural core can be restored and is being restored partially and randomly, but not keeping up with concomitant decay. The anchor represented by the rest of the city is preventing real vitality. Detroit needs to shrink back to its core area and a few viable business and residential areas and disenfranchise the rest. Allow the state to reclaim and reorganize the remainder, including condemning large tracts that could become the basis for new "greenfields" for parks, agriculture, or enterprise zones. The City of Detroit is not capable of such transformation in its present form.