Dear Readers: One of the topics that is on the agenda for CANTO TALK (I will be on tomorrow, Thursday Aug. 30th at 10 am Pacific Time/12 noon Central Time) is summed up by my friend and fellow SLOB Word Warrior in this post: OBAMA’S AMERICA: DOWNSIZING THE USA.Silvio has also wanted to talk about the decline of America’s great cities.
I hail from the Detroit area, so I can tell you about downsizing. In fact, there are whole photo galleries devoted to the haunting images of the decline of the Motor City, which is reminiscent of the TV series, “Life After People”. Time magazine recently did a photo essay on “Detroit’s Beautiful, Horrible Decline”.
In fact, resident LD Jackson reports that the mayor is closing off neighborhoods in his report, Downsizing Detroit.
It is so bad that in Detroit, even the dead are sprawling, as families disinter bodies from urban cemeteries to rebury them in the suburbs.There are plans for “urban shrinkage” and use of plots for agriculture. Some enterprising criminals are ahead of the curb, using abandoned sections of the city as a dumping ground for murder victims.
Mayor Dave Bing said Wednesday he “absolutely” intends to relocate residents from desolate neighborhoods and is bracing for inevitable legal challenges when he unveils his downsizing plan.
In his strongest statements about shrinking the city since taking office, Bing told WJR-760 AM the city is using internal and external data to decide “winners and losers.” The city plans to save some neighborhoods and encourage residents to move from others, he said.
“If we don’t do it, you know this whole city is going to go down. I’m hopeful people will understand that,” Bing said. “If we can incentivize some of those folks that are in those desolate areas, they can get a better situation.”
However, as the Goddess of Capitalism, I must note that this could be an investment opportunity: County Officials Giving Away Detroit Homes For $500.
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Wayne County will send people door-to-door to offer thousands of foreclosed Detroit homes for as little as $500, a move that would keep a roof overhead for occupants and possibly get properties back on the tax rolls.
More than 6,000 Detroit homes, foreclosed because taxes weren’t paid, didn’t sell at auction last fall. The county treasurer’s office doesn’t want to see them abandoned and is willing to negotiate with anyone living inside, including owners who no longer have a right to the property.
1. Poor neighborhood identification.
2. Poor housing stock.
3. A poor public realm.
4. A downtown that was allowed to become weak.
5. Freeway expansion.
6. Lack of/loss of a transit network.
7. Local government organization.
8. An industrial landscape that constrained the city’s core.
9. Ill-timed and unfulfilled annexation policy.
I would also add that the strong racialist attitude of the Detroit City Council has also not helped:
In March 2009, (Monica) Conyers led a group of five Detroit City Council members that blocked the transfer of ownership of Detroit Cobo Hall (the home of the North American International Auto Show) to a regional authority consisting of representatives from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties. During a heated council meeting discussing the deal, she told Isaac Robinson, a white official of the Teamsters union, that most of the people that work at the show “don’t look like me. They look like you.” She was quick to deny any implications of racism to the media when questioned about the comments. Conyers went on to claim Black people “cannot be racist”.
So much fodder for discussion! Just to highlight that Detroit isn’t the only American city with issues, let’s look at the news:
- Chicago: Chicago’s Murders for 2012 Likely to Exceed 2011
- California: San Bernardino bankruptcy: Other California cities could be next
- A good portion of New Orleans populace left the city permanently after Katrina.
- America’s Top 10 Shrinking Cities
Looking forward to tomorrow’s show very much.