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Thread: Detroit

  1. #1
    Good Enough Phatie's Avatar
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    Default Shrinking Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes

    Shrinking Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes
    | Sun Aug 14, 5:03 PM ET




    DETROIT, United States (AFP) - Rats or lead poisoning. When it comes to the threats from the broken down house next door, Dorothy Bates isn't sure which is worse.

    "When it's lightening and thundering you can hear the bricks just falling," the 40-year-old nurse said as she looked at the smashed windows and garbage-strewn porch. "If you call and ask (the city) about it they say they don't have the funds to tear it down."

    There are more than 12,000 abandoned homes in the Detroit area, a byproduct of decades of layoffs at the city's auto plants and white flight to the suburbs. And despite scores of attempts by government and civic leaders to set the city straight, the automobile capitol of the world seems trapped in a vicious cycle of urban decay.

    Detroit has lost more than half its population since its heyday in the 1950's. The people who remain are mostly black -- 83 percent -- and mostly working class, with 30 percent of the population living below the poverty line according to the US Census Bureau.

    The schools are bad. The roads are full of potholes. Crime is high and so are taxes. The city is in a budget crisis so deep it could end up being run by the state.

    And it just got knocked off the list of the nation's ten largest cities.

    "Detroit has become an icon of what's considered urban decline," said June Thomas, a professor of urban and regional planning at Michigan State University.

    "The issue is not just getting people in the city. It's getting people in the city who can become property owners and stay property owners and pay taxes."

    Perhaps the biggest challenge to luring the middle class from the area's swank suburbs is overcoming racial tensions, said Stephen Vogel, dean of the school of architecture at University of Detroit Mercy.

    "Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

    Most American cities have experienced a shift towards the suburbs.

    What made Detroit's experience so stark was the lack of regional planning and the ease with which developments were able to incorporate into new cities in order to avoid sharing their tax revenue with the city, said Margaret Dewar, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan.

    The fleeing businesses and homeowners left behind about 36 square miles (58 square kilometers) of vacant land. That's roughly the size of San Francisco and about a quarter of Detroit's total land mass.

    While a decision by General Motors to build its new headquarters smack in the middle of downtown has helped lure young professionals and spark redevelopment in some of the more desirable neighborhoods, there is little hope the vacant land will be filled any time soon.

    In his state of the city address, embattled mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said even if 10,000 new homes were built every year for the next 15 years "we wouldn't fill up our city."

    And Detroit is still losing about 10,000 people every year.

    One solution Vogel has proposed is to turn swaths of the city into farmland. In the four years since his students initiated a pilot project dozens of community gardens and small farms have popped up.

    But first the city has to get rid of the crumbling buildings that haunt the streets, luring criminals, arsonists and wild animals and creating a general sense of hopelessness.

    "It's partly a resource issue and it's partly a bureaucracy issue," said Eric Dueweke, the community partnership manager at the University of Michigan's College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

    "It takes them forever to find the proper owners of the properties and serve them with the proper paperwork," he said. "They're tearing them down at the rate of 1,500 or 2,000 a year, so they're really not cutting into the backlog in any significant way because that's how many are coming on stream."

    Dorothy Bates has been waiting three years for the crumbling house next door to be torn down. There are nine more on her short block along with several vacant lots that are overgrown with weeds.

    Bates does her best to keep her five children away from the rat nests, but the lead creeping out of crumbling bricks and peeling paint drifts in through her windows.

    The most frustrating part of it, says her neighbor Larry, is that so many of the abandoned houses could be repaired. The foundations are solid. The buildings are beautiful. Or at least, they were once.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050814...t_050814210312
    Last edited by Phatie; 08.15.05 at 10:08 AM.

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    Atomic Punk stilleddiesangel's Avatar
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    What a shame, I lived near Detroit for a while, it's a great city.
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    Top Of The World phildogger's Avatar
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    "Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

    Is is racist to not want to be shot? "Oh, look at Whitey, ducking to avoid those bullets! RACIST!"

    Face facts, no one wants to live in an 83% black neighborhood, except the blacks. Is it racist to want to find my car where i parked it the night before? Then feel free to call me a racist!
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    Damn, the Big D is actually turning into Big D. My relatives live outside of Detroit in Farmington Hills (12 Mile) and Northville (8 Mile) mostly. Don't hear about them going into downtown that much anymore. I guess I know why now...
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    It's really ironic in a way. The City of Detroit is a hole. The majority of it (not all, but the majority) is in pretty rough shape. The Downtown area has some nice spots, like by Ford Field/Comerica Park, but if you go too far east or west of that, it's trouble. However, the county just north of Detroit (Oakland County), is one of the wealthiest in the nation. Maybe if the taxes weren't so high in Detroit (from what I hear anyway...it's not like I pay Detroit taxes) there would be more opprotunities for busniesses to come in. I just wish everybody had a mayor like Kwame. For those who don't know, he was voted in the top 3 of worst mayors in the country. It's a sad comedy all the things this guy tries to get away with.

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    Oprah Winfrey will eventually save the day!
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

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    Quote Originally Posted by phildogger
    "Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

    Is is racist to not want to be shot? "Oh, look at Whitey, ducking to avoid those bullets! RACIST!"

    Face facts, no one wants to live in an 83% black neighborhood, except the blacks. Is it racist to want to find my car where i parked it the night before? Then feel free to call me a racist!
    Good post...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

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    thats why we need eminent domain
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    Damn,
    I've been to Detroit a few times in the last 7 or 8 years. I remember driving through what seemed liked miles of run-down areas. That is a damn shame.
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    Now is the time to begin aquiring a real estate position in that area. I'm serious. Start by purchasing homes for back taxes, receive a state/city grant to demo the homes and finally receive special government loans to build gated, close to downtown, retirement housing for seniors or (?) Let the government pay you to renovate da 'hood.

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Burn down the town and start over!
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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    Good Enough Ace Ventura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeoHalen
    Burn down the town and start over!
    That's what I say!!!! Not to offend anyone from Detroit but that place needs some serious help!!!!!
    "It doesn't mean that much to me to mean that much to you..." -Neil Young

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    Banned! Hotlantadude1981's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stilleddiesangel
    What a shame, I lived near Detroit for a while, it's a great city.

    You couldn't pay me to live in Detroit.

  14. #14
    Sinner's Swing! vh_chick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeoHalen
    Burn down the town and start over!
    I used to say we need to drop a bomb down there and start over. But there are some nice places downtown. We just need to bomb specific areas. Sheesh.

    BRING ON OPRAH!

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    Eruption Perrott's Avatar
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    Fix up the houses and make them subsidized for the homeless?

    No idea, just a thought.

 

 

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