When the Shrinking Cities show opened at MOCAD a few years back, there was a great creative/academic series of responses to the propositions the projects posed. Last week, a larger debate was fueled by remarks made by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing that acknowledges the challenges posed by shrinking population and the costs of maintaining infrastructure and services.
"We're not going in and just taking people's property and saying you don't have any say," Bing said. "Those people that we can encourage and that they would agree to be moved, those are the ones that we are going to work with first."
Last week I read this to a group of 12 year olds near Downtown. The first pause was that several of them did not know who Dave Bing was. The second pause came when they realized that the areas he was talking about are where their homes are.
Some excerpts from the article I read them from The Detroit News. on March 9:
The most viable neighborhoods, with the fewest vacant lots, are on the fringes, near the suburbs. The ones with the most abandoned houses and vacancies are closest to downtown.
"We have a downtown core and then we clearly have an outer ring," said Douglass Diggs, interim executive director of the recently formed Detroit Land Bank, a primary agency in the city's downsizing push. "The question is how do you link those two?
"Looking at the maps it seems like the real challenge is what to do with the middle part."
Some of the uses for the middle part, the neighborhoods like the former Paradise Valley, include farmland. "What?!!" asked the kids in my group. "First of all, we don't grow vegetables.
link to The Detroit News article
March 23 Mayor Bing makes his State of the City address--watch for updates,