Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Detroit, Mi: Rightsizing

(image courtesy of Dan Pitera, Detroit Collaborative Design Center)

Detroit covers an immense area, but now at about 40% of its population of 60 years ago, some areas are still fairly full of people, while others are fairly empty. The concept of "right-sizing" the City - ending service delivery and investment in some areas to focus on those that are salvageable - permeates almost every conversation and is a key element of many people's solutions to various problems. But how can a city cut out huge areas of land, and what happens to those areas? Like ghost towns left behind a mining bust, will Detroit be left with ghost neighborhoods? Will these areas revert to open space or be turned over to big agriculture for corn and soy farming? What about the people and businesses in the areas left out of the right size? And most importantly, what new opportunities could this mean for both the areas in and outside the boundaries of the right size?

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