Monday, August 15, 2005

Even the dead don't know Detroit

Attention squatters: Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes and 36 square miles of vacant land. What's more, in a shocking tidbit, the dean of the University of Detroit's school of architecture asserts that families are exhuming 400 to 500 bodies a year from local graveyards and reburying them in suburban cemeteries. All because of the fear of crime when coming to visit a relative's grave.

One thing local politicians ought to consider: a local version of the Homestead Act, one that would turn vacant houses over to squatters. This would fix and repopulate the city faster than a program that locals are pushing. They want to create a land bank to demolish the buildings, erase prior property lines, and get supersized parcels into the hands of developers.

Detroit doesn't need more profit hungry developers--who actually extract money from the city. Detroit needs residents and committed builders of its neighborhoods. The quickest and most effective way to do this is to harness the will of squatters.

Detroit can learn from the developing world.

See this Agence France Press ariticle via Yahoo! News.

1 comment:

wala said...

incredible and ironic! i dont know whats worse, urban entropy caused by overpopulation or underpopulation. they should give these vast unused areas/houses as grants to those who are worthy and in need. or make a special offer to immigrants to settle there.