07 October 2009

Detroit Reinvented

Parts of Detroit could end up being an interesting social experiment...

Excerpt from Worldchanging, 6 October 2009

'The city of Detroit has gotten a lot of attention recently, most of it lamenting how far its fortunes have fallen [compared to] to the American self-image of infinite growth and expansion. Detroit's population has plummeted. Huge swaths of land lie vacant. Houses have gone feral...

Detroit’s strength is in its weakness...the city affords many opportunities to artists, entrepreneurs, urban homesteaders, and people who do not want typical 9-to-5 lifestyles. Large, vacant commercial space can be rented out to start-ups at basement sale prices. People can buy homes and land for almost nothing, grow their own food, and form communities of similarly-minded people. Imagine if residents were given financial or technical assistance to build farms, solar panels, micro turbines, grey water systems, vermiculture compost systems, and other household-level or block-level amenities that local government can no longer afford to provide.

Not only is the government relieved to pursue more pressing problems, like education and crime, but people are empowered to run their own communities. In turn, people are relieved of having to join the 9-to-5 workforce – with no mortgage, no car payments and insurance, little -to-no utility payments, and a small food bill from farming, people can use their time to invest in their community or take risks, like starting new companies or producing works of art.'

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