Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No thanks

As I wrote not long ago, the city needs a better vision for the reuse of its vacant land. Let me add to that. The city needs a vision that is sensitive to the city's history and its current residents.

Let me give an example of a vision that's not. In Dome Magazine, Craig Ruff, a Michigan policy wonk, advocates a total overhaul of the city (Hat tip: Model D). He'd like to build light rail lines, widen the city's main spokes to 12-lanes roads, and line them on either side with public parks 10-blocks wide and miles long. Completing the mass relocation of residents and property in the pursuit of "greatness" will require "(a) a huge investment of state and federal money; (b) willing and involved Detroiters; (c) city policymakers willing to cede control over half their land; (d) extremely bold thinkers in Lansing; and (e) a visionary team of designers and architects who are given wide, even dictatorial, berth."

Thanks but no thanks. Detroit needs revitalization, not to be leveled and replaced with something else entirely.


Marisa said...

That is crazy.

BillOGoods said...

Not to mention ongoing expenses to maintain the parks and keep them safe, along with the "light rail" to nowhere and the wide track highways dividing literally cutting off neighborhoods from access to the other.

David said...

You're back! We're agreed on this one. The article was inspiring, except it proposes, essentially, the sterilization of Detroit.

I've always felt that Haussmann's Paris was delightful only in photographs. This comes after walking around it in all sorts of weather. It's so tedious.

Detroit needs to densify, a process that was beginning in the core. This will no doubt continue when times get better. This organic approach - grand plans suck - they lead to homogeneity. That's why London's a more charming city than New York, with it's oppressive, endless straight lines north of 14th Street. (end of ramble)