Sunday, July 18, 2010

Detroit Needs a Revolution

The decay of Detroit is well documented. From burned out mansions to abandoned luxury hotels, the City is portrayed as the endpoint of our culture; a fallen empire based on the automobile and heavy industry. I don't even bother to take pictures anymore.

Built for a population of 2.1mln people, the City barely supports 800,000 these days. While thriving communities exist, the flight has been epic and entire sections of the City uprooted for the suburbs. The City is bankrupt. Left with crumbling infrastructure and no tax base, the powers that be are moving toward clearing entire sections and shrinking the City to pre-determined nodes.

These hinterlands are sparsely inhabited and require municipal services such as police, water and sewer. Holdouts that have been failed by governments through riots, arson and every other form of social upheaval are now threatened with the forced abandonment of homes that have protected them for a generation. They're angry.

The problem of Detroit is epic; epic in scale and how it must be tackled. Nothing short of a revolution is required. A complete rethink of community, economy and the environment. And it must be bottom up. The seeds have been sown, but its a long row.

Grace Lee Boggs is one of my favourite people. Don't know her, but she's a ray of sunshine in a troubled place. Building community is an art; that ever changing collection of interests that need to be harnessed for lofty goals.

I wish them luck.


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