Response to Detroit Bankruptcy Ruling, NY Times, Dec 3rd
I have a tough time watching the gentrification of downtown Detroit occur while the surrounding area has been shoved further and further out of view. Money focuses on what it knows and the marketing pulling into the city spins like a vortex on downtown & midtown. Detroit has beautiful areas that have been languishing, waiting and deteriorating, they need recognized and prodded forward.
The plan from Kevyn Orr (aka Bing's old plan, not quite the Future City plan) will be scrutinized in these ways most specifically:
- Transparency - the city and state get failing grades on bringing the public in during pre-planning and planning. City Charter requirements from 2012 need to be fully implemented, including extending the council to interact with the neighborhoods (CACs were supposed to have happened in 2012 election). The Mayor (and EM) should be available to the public, not locked up in a office talking with the media offering well-timed press conferences on continued corporate domination of the city.
- Equality - the city has a lot of land for the number of residents. The people are asking for COMMONS to be formed that would not be corporatized or privatized. Places for gathering in education, entertainment, and exchange. We need community land trusts all over the city - so the people own it and have a place to gather.
- Clean Up Pollution - corporations chose Detroit for polluting and willful destruction of environment. Public oversight on regulatory activities is needed - the people need to know and be cared for. Profit over people is a risky game. We need to reassess all tax abatements and the rationale for them - most need removed and taxes are what a city needs to operate.
- Ensure Access - public transportation across a broad city is a MANDATORY NEED. Income levels, insurance red-lining, and continual redistricting/zoning makes mass transit vital. Mass transit must visit the community commons - not the corporate shopping malls.
- Embrace New Ways - high tech infrastructure has been driven down in cost. Green energy is cheaper to produce than dirty energy. Bicycling & walking is healthier. Detroit needs walkable neighborhoods with full services - grocers, clothiers, shops, offices, and light portable industry scattered across the city. City gardens and farms need to be endorsed and supported - give them the watering and feeding needed to grow. That means commons for markets, resources, and growing young gardeners.
- Education For All Ages - not just traditional education, this is knowing how to live in an progressive, forward thinking, creative realm. Learning how to work smarter with what you know you have and having access to find what you don't know, partnering it in. Stepping out of corporate mentality into community coops. Make sure our elders and youth discover lifetimes that last an eternity by learning together.
|Check Revolve Detroit for info|
about the "Avenue of Fashion"
There is more that needs mentioned. There is an active movement around the city that is exploring and supportive of what is mentioned above and the "more" I've alluded to. It may be talked about as a focal few, but that number has been growing from hundreds to thousands who are putting their feet in the street, bodies in the chairs, and speaking their minds in public forums.