The abandonment and decay of Detroit’s urban fabric is a compellingly documented story of the once mighty ‘Motor City’ fallen on hard times. In recent years there has been much discussion, and some hope, that the city might be reborn as an inspirational example of new urban farming and sustainable living. The debate on ‘what to do with Detroit,’ and the reality of the initiatives happening in the city, is complex, partisan and fraught.
Local businessman John Hantz has been buying up large swathes of land with promises of urban farms, forests and employment. Yet he has faced vociferous opposition by those who see him building a land bank, bought ‘on the cheap,’ as a personal investment.
The Greening of Detroit is one of many ambitious community projects to resuscitate and rejuvenate the city, and Recovery Park hopes to create fish farms, greenhouses and local food businesses from the derelict urban wasteland. Alongside these community projects individuals, such as new urban farmers Carolyn Leadley and Jack van Dyke, are investing their own time and money in Detroit’s future.
Whatever your own views may be on any of the particular initiatives, the story of a city struggling to redefine and reinvent itself is an important one for us all at the start of the 21st century. The Detroit Works Project has put in place a framework for action. Take a look at their strategy.