Rust Belt Renaissance

Click the above image to be re-directed to MSNBC’s video clip.

In this segment of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Details magazine’s Jesse Ashlock discusses ways in which young entrepreneurs are creating a “Rust Belt Renaissance.” In a clip from his article in Details, Ashlock states:

“The Motor City is just like the buckle on the Rust Belt, an entire region whose very name speaks of decline and decay but which is now determinedly–and definitively–finding its way forward. In fact, while the rest of America has staggered under the weight of the Great Recession, the innovators, entrepreneurs, thinkers and doers in cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo and Youngstown have raced out ahead, leading a Heartland renaissance whose effects are being felt from coast to coast.”

A few of the organizations that they mention include A Piece of Cleveland, Slow’s BBQ in Detroit (just went there this past weekend!), and the LaunchHouse in Shaker Heights.

Lemonade: Detroit

“If y’all wanna see the community transform, common, let’s get to work.”

Lemonade: Detroit is a project Erik Proulx created about two years ago to share the voices of the people who have chosen to stay and make a difference in Detroit. He allows people to become co-producers by purchasing frames in the film – helping with both production costs and community engagement. The film currently has over 2,344 producers. Want to become a producer too? Visit the Lemonade: Detroit website.

Detroit’s Rebirth: “Future City” Report offers new ideas and solutions

“Cities are living places that require ongoing awareness and firm yet flexible approaches to decision making which acknowledge changing realities and multiple voices, leading to pragmatic and agreed-on solutions” (Detroit Future City Framework, 12).

Future City, a two year report offering short and long term solutions to restore Detroit was recently released by Detroit Works. It is the culmination of an in-depth 24 month process involving 30,000 interviews, 70,000 surveys, and hundreds of public meetings.

Below are some key statistics that demonstrate the challenges Detroit is facing and the need to come together to solve these problems.

  • 79,725 out of 350,000 units are vacant in the city of Detroit-meaning the city has an astounding vacancy rate of 22.7%
  • 700,000 people live in a city originally designed for 2 million people.
  • There is only one job for every four Detroit residents
  • A recent survey of Detroit residents revealed that nearly one-third of the respondents would leave the city within five years, citing safety as the top reason.

Four major targets are to be evaluated in 2030 that stakeholders see in their vision that will be accomplished from the framework.

By 2030, Detroit will have a stabilized population
By 2030 the city will have two or three jobs for each person living in the city
By 2030, the Detroit Metropolitan region has an integrated regional public transportation system
By 2030, Detroit will become a city for all
 

The plan outlines several strategies that should be put into place to make a permanent transformation in Detroit over the next 20 years or more. There are five major planning elements: Economic Growth, Land Use, City Systems, Neighborhoods, and Land and Building Assets built within the framework to enforce the strategies:

  • Economic Growth is intended to make Detroit’s economy more knowledge based by utilizing four economic pillars: Global Trade/Industrial, Digital/Creative,Local Entrepreneurship, and Education & Medical. The four knowledge based sectors are meant to diversify the workforce.
  • Land Use is integral to transforming Detroit by addressing four key ideas: A City of Multiple Employment Districts, A City of Connecting People to Opportunity, AGreen City Where Landscapes Contribute to Health, and A City of Distinct, Attractive Neighborhoods. The city’s current footprint is too expansive to meet the current population and fiscal capacity and so it needs to be refocused to be more sustainable.
  • City Systems revises the path to sustainable systems by using three transformative ideas: Strategic Infrastructure Renewal, Landscape As 21st Century Infrastructure, and Diversified Transportation for Detroit and The Region. This element is important to the city to determine which systems are critical to remain online, discontinued, or upgraded. Financially the city cannot afford to give out these resources to areas that are not populated.
  • Neighborhood utilizes five ideas to create more choices for residents: A City of Many Assets, A City of Neighborhood Choices, A City of Different Strategies for Different Neighborhoods, A City of Diverse Housing Types for Diverse Populations, and A City of Residents Who Engage In Their Own Futures. To remain competitive and meet the demands of a 21st century city, Detroit needs to understand the needs of their many neighborhoods and the unique challenges each neighborhood may face.
  • Land and Building Assets is critical to solving Detroit’s vacancy problems which will be initiated by: A City That Shares A Vision: Coordinating the Management of Vacant Land, A City Where Everything Is Connected: Viewing Vacant and Problem Properties Within One Interrelated System, A City of Strategic Approaches: Recognizing The Uniqueness of Each Property’s Value and Challenges, A New Urban Landscape: Using Land for Infrastructure And Innovation, and a City Where Public Facility Investments Count: Aligning Public Facilities With Land Use Transportation. Detroit has numerous neighborhoods that are beset by blight and have vacant land that needs to be utilized for new uses like parks, urban farming, and commercialization. To get a handle on the declining population will mean a critical movement to alter the vacancy problem in Detroit.

The use of info-graphics and GIS data helps to showcase Detroit’s urban crises and how they are interconnected. Figuring out exactly where the problems are heavily weighted will help impact the city’s strategy.

This first of its kind report can be a great tool for other cities across America facing similar problems to better assess and find new and innovative solutions.

Detroit Lives!

It’s been too long, I know.  Since the last post, I’ve moved to Columbus, Ohio, and delved into a graduate program for City and Regional Planning (imagine that!).

To make it up to you, here’s some mind candy, and don’t worry, there’s more to come…

More from Detroit Lives!

More from Lost Detroit

Peace and catch you later,

{marianne}

Beyond the Motor City

Give this new documentary by Aaron Woolf a watch:

According to the film’s press release,

Beyond the Motor City…examines how Detroit, a grim symbol of America’s diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in America.

Detroit and its Great Lakes neighbors are looking to high-speed, light rail as a solution not just for transportation in the region, but also as a means to lower greenhouse gas emissions (and improve air quality), reduce the consumption of petroleum, create jobs, and rebuild our cities around transit for higher population density and improved mobility for all (not just for people who own cars).

To watch the full-length feature, visit The Blueprint America Screening Tour website.

Majora Carter on “Greening the Ghetto”

On March 30, Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, came to Cleveland to talk about her work to “green the ghetto” in South Bronx.  Watch the video below to learn about how she and her community have tackled social and environmental injustices, while simultaneously creating economic development opportunities for their neighborhood.

How can we bring some of these tactics to places like East Cleveland, East Liberty and pretty much anywhere in Detroit?

SustainLane’s Local Action Challenge – Most Active Cities

Cleveland is currently the second most active city in the nation on SustainLane’s Local Action Challenge.  With a whopping 284 points, we are beat only by Colorado Springs (which currently has 686 points).

SustainLane is hosting the Hopenhagen Local Action Challenge to empower people to be more environmentally responsible on the local level.  Cities set up their own challenges and residents take pictures of themselves completing the challenges for points and prizes.

The challenges that Cleveland has set up for itself include: Change a Light Bulb (or two), Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (& Compost), Use Less Water, Adjust your Thermostat, Spread the Word, Calculate your Carbon Footprint, Drive Less, Eat Lower on the Food Chain, Plant a Tree, and Buy Efficient Appliances.  These are all incredibly doable and we still have time to complete more challenges before the end of the contest!
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