One Third Of Detroit Derelict Or Abandoned

The shrinking of Detroit is continuing apace.

Mayor's solution to his city's cancer: Bulldoze it (external - login to view)

Mayor's solution to his city's cancer: Bulldoze it

'This city is going to go down' if it doesn't eliminate neighbourhoods that are practically devoid of people, he says

By Alex Spillius, Daily Telegraph May 29, 2010

Tired of Detroit's status as the symbol of everything wrong with urban America, its new mayor has come up with a radical solution: to bulldoze the city.

David Bing, a businessman and former basketball player, said he had no choice.
The 2010 census is expected to record a population of about 800,000, down from 1.8-million in the Motor City heyday of the late 1950s.

The long decline of the car industry and all its spinoff businesses has been exacerbated by the collapse of the housing market. Prices are close to what they were 50 years ago, when magazines featured Detroit as the most desirable city in America.

Decent three-bedroom homes can be bought for $10,000, but no one wants to buy.
With the city facing a deficit of as much as $124 million this year, Bing said the only solution was to reduce the size.

"There is just too much land and too many expenses," he said. "If we don't do it, this city is going to go down."

Plans being devised would be the most revolutionary carried out by an American city.

Large chunks of neighbourhoods would be razed and converted to parks and urban farms -- or abandoned.

Bing has vowed to demolish 3,000 homes this year and a further 7,000 over the following three years. As many as 40,000 homes could eventually go.

The plans are being watched by influential figures who believe other cities -including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis -could follow suit. In Detroit's Brightmoor neighbourhood on the city's northwest side, the mayor's logic is obvious. On many blocks, only two or three homes are inhabited, the rest have been vacated or burned down.

They attract rodents and drug gangs.

Monique McLean, 29, of Brightmoor, said she would welcome the chance to move.
"It is terrible here," she said. "I don't feel safe at night. People
have moved and soon there will be no one left. I would be glad to get out of here. I would be glad to get out of Detroit, period."

At one end of the street is an abandoned car, and at the other a home gutted by fire.

On a nearby street, every shop on a half-mile stretch is shuttered. Even the pawnshop has closed down.

Saving Detroit will be a mammoth effort. Almost a third of the city's 224 square kilometres is vacant or derelict. Charles Pugh, president of the city council, said that by reducing the area the city served, millions of dollars would be saved.
"We have to police property, put out fires, light the streets, pump water and shovel snow for all these sparsely populated areas," said Pugh. "It's really inefficient."

John George, of the city's northwest side, has been campaigning to improve neighbourhoods for 21 years.

Through his non-profit group Motor City Blight Busters, George has founded a community centre near Brightmoor, financed a city garden, an art gallery, a restaurant and will soon open a jazz cafe.

In the 1990s, the group refurbished homes; now it demolishes them.

Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

To bad they didn't stick with Motown, they'd be another music mecca - who needs the big three when you have the Supremes and theme parks?
Detroit is a very interesting example of American society and how it has changed. The pictures of the abandoned buildings are incredible; I can't conceive of such a thing.
Liken it to East St. Louis, another causality of the rust belt. The new economy is 'creative', not industrial - that's all for the 'developing world' now.
It would be a shame to bulldoze perfectly fine houses when people are sleeping on the streets.

Could the US government not transfer some of its headquarters there so as to save on real estate and be able to pay its staff lower salaries owing to a lower cost of living?

If that happened, other businesses might buy some of these houses and convert them into restaurants, etc. Some of the apartment buildings could possibly be converted into government offices, etc.

Meanwhile, the prime real estate abandoned by government offices in other cities coudd be converted into residential housing.

Or some other strategy. But just as you don't waste the food on your plate when people are starving, or waste water when people have no drinking water, so you don't bulldoze a house when people have no place to live. Instead, you try to bring people there. What about trade schools and professional schools? Certainly poorer American families would love to be able to send their child to a school that's less expensive. With the low real estate costs there, schools would likely be cheaper, no? Why not put those buildings to use somehow instead of bulldozing them?

What about people who'd lost their homes in the wake of hurricane Katrina? Why not let them live in those houses in the meantime. I know it's the past, but just to take an example. Certainly someone with an imagination could put those houses to use somehow, no?
Machjo, care to define what a perfectly fine house is? Most of these abandoned homes in Detroit are anything but fine and even if they were habitable you have the problem of a serious lack of employment opportunities.
Quote: Originally Posted by DurkaDurkaView Post

Machjo, care to define what a perfectly fine house is? Most of these abandoned homes in Detroit are anything but fine and even if they were habitable you have the problem of a serious lack of employment opportunities.

If they're completely unlivable, that's a different matter. If that's the case, then yeah, I guess tear them down and convert them to agricultural lands or something.I didn't realise it was that bad.
There are parts of Detroit that resemble a post apocalyptic landscape. Streets where only a house or two are standing, those boarded up or crack dens. There are some oases where houses that might be worth a couple of million in Toronto, can be had for $400M or less. The city has responded to the flight of industry from the city, by trying to build casinos, with little effect.

The problem with Detroit lies in Free Trade, and the deindustrialization of America. Detroit grew because it was at the cross roads of transportation hubs, for raw materials and shipped goods, in North America, by water or rail or road. With nothing to build or ship it's lost its economic advantages.
It is a shame, such a shame, michigan suffered so much from
the recession.

I have seen it a little from the sports side of things.
I know the detroit red wings gave many 'deals' this last
season to help families get to games, as they could no
longer afford tickets. They had many reductions in tickets
and also many free admissions for certain groups, and it
is rumoured that the team will be moving soon, perhaps to
a more suitable location for games, not such a central part
of the city I would assume.

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