Forget Robocop – Detroit to Turn Green to Regenerate

In: Other Topics

Submitted By gcodez
Words 377
Pages 2
The Motor City has finally stalled. After years of socioeconomic decline since its auto industry collapsed in the 2000s, Detroit declared bankruptcy last week, becoming the largest American city ever to do so. Could an ambitious, environmentally friendly scheme to repurpose Detroit's crumbling infrastructure be the city's salvation?
In the past decade, Detroit has become an emblem of urban decay. More than a third of its buildings are abandoned, nearly 40 per cent of the population lives in poverty and the infrastructure is in tatters: reportedly, 40 per cent of its street lights don't work. This is where a long-term plan called the Detroit Future City (DFC) framework, announced by a study group in January, could help. Its aim is to regenerate the city over the next two decades by downsizing Detroit's infrastructure – tailored to its 2 million residents in the 1950s – to fit its current population of 700,000. To this end, the DFC proposes that the city take some unusual steps. It proposes converting the city's 5200 hectares of abandoned space into ecological sanctuaries and urban farms. Hundreds of small farming and gardening initiatives have already sprung up in recent years, bolstered by private investment and grants. Other initiatives include building "blue infrastructure," which would convert unused streets into conduits to collect rainwater for irrigation and relieve the pressure on Detroit's sewer system, and new regulations to increase energy efficiency across the city. But with the city saddled with debts estimated at $18 billion, will these plans ever take off? They will take several years to initiate, so the city's bankruptcy filing should not slow them much, says urban law expert John Mogk of Wayne State University in Detroit, who was not involved in the DFC report. Working out deals with creditors should take two to three years, after which…...

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