I'm reading Bill McKibben's Deep Economy, a popularist approach to populism and its cultural accoutrement, localism. Anyway, here's McKibben's take on one way Detroit may be saved:
Say you're a dreamer. Imagine the most ruined city in America.
That would be Detroit, which has lost half its population in the last few
decades. A million people have moved away; as much as a third of the city's 139
square miles consists of empty lots and dilapidated buildings, "an urban core
giving way to an urban prairie," in the words of the New York Times.
But slowly, some of that land is coming under cultivation: forty community
gardens and microfarms, some covering entire city blocks, have sprung up in
recent years. A farmer named Paul Weertz farms ten acres spread over seven lots,
prducing hay, alfalfa, honey, eggs, goats' milk, even beef cattle. His tractor
barn is an old garage. In 2000, a group of architects, urban planners, and local
activists convened by the University of Detroit spent six months coming up with
an ambitious plan for expanding such farms, connecting four and a half square
miles of the city's east side into a self-sustaining village "complete with
farms, greenhouses, grazing land, a dairy, and a cannery." "When you first look
at this, people say it's wild and crazy," says the dean of the local
architecture school. "But when you look at it closer, it's not so wild and crazy
after all. What we are talking about doing are all very pragmatic things."
This is in the context of the wealth of local communities, in particular, his chapter on local food economies. Thanks to Professor Bergeron of U-M Dearborn for assigning a chapter in her Ecological Economics course.
I wonder what the Hip-Hop Mayor thinks of all this?