Originally posted by rwingett
I generally don't follow Detroit politics, so I don't really have any suggestions that fit within the standard political/economic framework.
As there is quite a bit of vacant property within the city theses days, it would be useful to turn a lot of that into urban farms (which is starting to happen on a small scale). Detroit could be a leader in the int ...[text shortened]... st century ecological cities. But it probably won't happen.
Sorry, that's all I've got.
"I generally don't follow Detroit politics, so I don't really have any suggestions that fit within the standard political/economic framework."
I can tell, because if you did, you'ld not be so enamoured of collectivist central planning.
"As there is quite a bit of vacant property within the city theses days, it would be useful to turn a lot of that into urban farms (which is starting to happen on a small scale)."
That is a pipe dream (crack pipe). The so called prairie sections of Detroit are huge, but they contain urban infrastructure including electric power lines, gas lines, and sewers/septic and storm drains. They formerly housed industrial plants, gas stations, and other neighborhood businesses. The EPA regulations for reclamation would be staggering. These old neighborhoods had not only paved streets and sidewalks, but alleys bordering the back yards, all to be removed for farming. I've looked at some prime riverfront property and questioned why it hasn't been redeveloped, and can only conclude there are too many environmental obstacles in the way.
Detroit is nearly the east most part of Wayne County. Only the Grosse Points and Harper Woods are further east, and rumblings are that they want to join Macomb County. Wayne County west of Detroit is quite affluent compared to Detroit, and the further west you go, the more opposition to any connection with the city you'll get.
To give others an idea of the dysfunctional nature of Detroit politicians, last couple of years sidewalks have been improved with pretty brick ramps at street corners making them wheelchair friendly. This stuff isn't cheap and easy. And I've seen it being done in some prairie type neighborhoods, or near prairie neighborhoods, where few if any people live, and nobody in a wheelchair is going to venture. This while the threat of layoff to cops looms.
Standard mayoral promise is to raze the vacant, burned out homes in neighborhoods. A few get torn down, but they aren't keeping up with the arson. Often the razing isn't complete, and the basement sits open for months before being filled in.
The relations between city council and the Mayor are a joke, and threats to bring in emergency managers are fought in court as racist. No parent in Detroit, who can afford to send his kids elsewhere chooses Detroit public schools? Why would anyone intentionally move into such a place? Why would any other entity take over such a mess?
A few attempts at "urban renewal" or ongoing. Most seem doomed to failure, as new homes both stick built, and prefab manufactured, go up in areas where the old buildings haven't been removed, and which are crime ridden. Often the new homes end up vandalized before being completed.
It is a problem which has to be eventually solved. The old adages of an anchor city being vital to a regional economy simply do not apply here. For decades state and county money has flowed into not out of Detroit, and the regional economy suffers from the stigma of Detroit around the rest of the nation. To be fair, this is not so entirely different from other large American cities, but of the ones I've visited, Detroit is the most gentrified, racially segregated, decayed, and politically incompetent and dysfunctional.
To ask western Wayne county folks who typically have half million dollar homes to take on funding Detroit isn't likely to get a positive response.