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Detroit To Unveil Plans To ‘Level Itself’

We have talked this about in the past. But now it is actually happening.

From a cheering Associated Press:

Detroit wants to save itself by shrinking


March 8, 2010

DETROIT — Detroit, the very symbol of American industrial might for most of the 20th century, is drawing up a radical renewal plan that calls for turning large swaths of this now-blighted, rusted-out city back into the fields and farmland that existed before the automobile.

Operating on a scale never before attempted in this country, the city would demolish houses in some of the most desolate sections of Detroit and move residents into stronger neighborhoods. Roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile city could go from urban to semi-rural.

Near downtown, fruit trees and vegetable farms would replace neighborhoods that are an eerie landscape of empty buildings and vacant lots. Suburban commuters heading into the city center might pass through what looks like the countryside to get there. Surviving neighborhoods in the birthplace of the auto industry would become pockets in expanses of green.

Detroit officials first raised the idea in the 1990s, when blight was spreading. Now, with the recession plunging the city deeper into ruin, a decision on how to move forward is approaching. Mayor Dave Bing, who took office last year, is expected to unveil some details in his state-of-the-city address this month.

"Things that were unthinkable are now becoming thinkable," said James W. Hughes, dean of the School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, who is among the urban experts watching the experiment with interest. "There is now a realization that past glories are never going to be recaptured. Some people probably don’t accept that, but that is the reality." …

Though the will to downsize has arrived, the way to do it is unclear and fraught with problems.

Politically explosive decisions must be made about which neighborhoods should be bulldozed and which improved. Hundreds of millions of federal dollars will be needed to buy land, raze buildings and relocate residents, since this financially desperate city does not have the means to do it on its own. It isn’t known how many people in the mostly black, blue-collar city might be uprooted, but it could be thousands. Some won’t go willingly

Now, a city of nearly 2 million in the 1950s has declined to less than half that number. On some blocks, only one or two occupied houses remain, surrounded by trash-strewn lots and vacant, burned-out homes. Scavengers have stripped anything of value from empty buildings. According to one recent estimate, Detroit has 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant residential lots.

Several other declining industrial cities, such as Youngstown, Ohio, have also accepted downsizing. Since 2005, Youngstown has been tearing down a few hundred houses a year. But Detroit’s plans dwarf that effort. The approximately 40 square miles of vacant property in Detroit is larger than the entire city of Youngstown.

Faced with a $300 million budget deficit and a dwindling tax base, Bing argues that the city can’t continue to pay for police patrols, fire protection and other services for all areas.

The current plan would demolish about 10,000 houses and empty buildings in three years and pump new investment into stronger neighborhoods. In the neighborhoods that would be cleared, the city would offer to relocate residents or buy them out. The city could use tax foreclosure to claim abandoned property and invoke eminent domain for those who refuse to leave, much as cities now do for freeway projects…

Maybe they could turn Detroit into a giant solar power plant or maybe a wind farm?

Still, we are ‘Katrina-ing’ Detroit. Where is the outrage?

And will we put the people whose houses are bulldozed in FEMA trailers for the rest of their lives, like we did with the ‘victims’ of Katrina?

(Thanks to BaghdadRunner for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, March 9th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Detroit To Unveil Plans To ‘Level Itself’”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Where’s that Russian ICBM urban renewal project when you really need it ….

  2. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    Turning cities into farm land has to be the ultimate green job. No wonder Obama is keeping the economy down, he is just thinking of the planet. Isn’t he swell? Now if we could just get those pesky white people to move out of the suburbs and into cites so we can control them, ahem, I mean provide them with vital government services, we could really save the planet.

  3. JohnMG says:

    …….”past glories are never going to be recaptured. Some people probably don’t accept that, but that is the reality…….”

    Who is it saying these things, again? You sure it isn’t Jimmah Cahta?

    And I’ll really be surprised if the police and fire personnel willingly accept a reduction in their ranks. Along with a reduction in the number of representatives/aldermen/councilmen (whatever they call themselves). Isn’t this where Conyers’ wife is an officeholder? I can see her graciously relinquishing her sinecure for the greater good of the city. (just kidding)

  4. wardmama4 says:

    If I remember correctly from my m-i-l – Ms Conyers isn’t serving any more – some pesky little scandal involving money or kickbacks (oh yeah, FBI investigation on corruption and she plead guilty to conspiring to commit bribery) – And of course the Mayor is out too. And does anyone really have to question why Detroit is about to sink into the abyss.

    Yeah – Dozing Detroit will really help that area a lot – what a crock – just get some honest citizens to run the city for a year – it will be all taken care of.

    Oh yeah – Banned – If dozing the failing cities into farm lands gets going – who is going to vote for the Dems in the future – the inner cities, east & left coast are their strongholds (proven by their horrendous taxation, failing city govs and terrible public education rates)? I don’t think this idea will catch on when the Left realizes it will be destroying it’s voting base.

  5. proreason says:

    Back to the Stone Age.

    These are the kind of people who spawned our evil kinglette.

  6. BillK says:

    What will happen to the residents? Apparently free new digs!

    Note from above:

    the city would demolish houses in some of the most desolate sections of Detroit and move residents into stronger neighborhoods

    Note also you should read “stronger” as “more dense” – that means more mass transit, less freedom.

    Will this mark the return of large urban housing projects ala Cabrini Green?

    In so many ways we seem to be moving ever closer to the world of Soylent Green where the elderly and in fact anyone sick of life are encouraged to off themselves, where the cities are overcrowded cesspools, and farms and open space are surrounded by armed Government guards.

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