Friday, September 28, 2012

Shrinking Detroit?

The most bullshit idea I've heard regarding Detroit is the oft-pronounced notion that the once-mighty city needs to downsize itself, to shrink into a corner of its size, and so be more efficient. And irrelevant.

This ignores fifty-plus years of history. Years of racial division and conflict, beginning with the race riot 1943, culminating in the riots of 1967 and the resulting struggle between black and white for political power in the town.

Today we have the city, mostly black, yet it's surrounded by detached rings of segregated enclaves, some partly integrated but many not. These rings contain even alternate downtowns, as in Royal Oak and Ann Arbor. A couple million people are scattered within these rings; business and population scattered across a vast area. There's nothing efficient about it. The situation was created for reasons of control and separation. From a practical, business, environmental, cultural, or synergistic standpoint it's a bad idea.

To shrink the core city would be to not have a city; only a landscape of isolated enclaves, disunited, with no cohesion, force, or energy. All advantages to being a city would be thrown away.

The new generations need to put this aside. The only way Detroit, the Detroit area, can be run efficiently to be healthy and vibrant again is to not shrink, but but expand the core by bringing back the rings. To congregate. There are enough people-- and there's enough capital-- for population, business, and money to return to the core of Detroit itself; to fill it and make it thrive. The infrastructure is already in place. It's up to the new generations free from the scars of past history to make this happen. It would inevitably mean compromise; a loss of control on both sides, for the betterment of everybody.