Whats it like to live in Detroit? (Jackson, Wayne: lofts, condo)
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Detroit wasn't systematically "dismantled". Detroit was obsoleted and is kept breathing by poorly managed subsidies.
Brush Park testifies. Detroit 1-8-7 testifies.
The downtown Detroit buildings are just as vacant as the surrounding neighborhoods.
Perhaps "Old Detroit" should be cordoned off with large earth berms. Lease the vacant skyscrapers to commandos for Urban Training. The earth berm, built from the former east side, would create new shore-line.
Mexican Village is the largest "Urban Pioneering Center" in Detroit.
Your first point is correct. No one tore Detroit down (except for the people living there). If you constantly riot, law-abiding folks are going to leave. If you charge excessive taxes, any sensible person/business is going to leave.
However, I think your claims about downtown is excessive. There are far more people living downtown today than two decades ago, with new lofts, new casinos, new sports arenas, and new restaurants to service those places. I'm amazed by how downtown is actually starting to look like a real city. Visitors to the Superbowl had a similar reaction.
It's still a far more compact area, and less populated area, than most downtowns in similarly-populated metropolitan areas. But it was worse in the late 70's and 80's.
Never mind the fact that 700,000 people were left behind to manage a city made for 2,000,000 people and the fact that tax revenues and private investment (exception possibly being downtown/midtown) are at an all time bare minimum.
1. Wouldn't it be easier to manage a city with fewer people?
2. Who would invest in a dump where people are unwilling to work and prey upon each other?
3. Who would live in an area with excessive taxes and crappy public services?
There's a reason people left detroit and stopped investing in it. Namely, the people who live in and run the City.
Ha! I cracked up reading this because it's the same experience I have every time I explore Detroit. I guess you can't expect people who are brainwashed into believing that it is okay to take money from people(welfare) to know any other way of getting money. Thanks liberals!
In Detroit's defense, there are far more panhandlers in D.C., even in Georgetown. I don't blame anyone for asking for money, especially if they're broke. (Just say "sorry, no.") I'm only bothered by agressive panhandlers and thieves.
Location: 30% Brighton--60% Grand Rapids 10% on the road
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Originally Posted by alex7777
You have some solid ideas. I've discussed this with friends, being from SE Michigan, and I think there are a few key things you'd need. First and most obvious is security. You'd need a high-quality, private security force to supplement the police. Ideally, you'd also have a high wall around the neighborhood, like USC campus in L.A. Those two things would address the main middle-class aversion to Detroit, which is crime and lack of safety.
Having a mixed population inside the neighborhood/community would also help, as noted. And you'd probably want to start with a location that is close to specific employers, so that it's convenient, and ideally adjacent to one of the existing middle-class enclaves inside Detroit, like Indian Village. There should be several such areas with decent housing stock ripe for renovation.
But as noted, it would be best to go in with at least a few dozen people, committed to a significant and rapid transformation, and some kind of plan in place.
As you have noted Detroit is "ripe for renovation!" We wanted to get in Boston Edison 15-20 years ago. But the local vagrants were already moving into empty houses. The 2-3 we looked at hade been extensively damaged by vandalism or fire. Then there was the restoration and meeting historical guidelines--all for a house that we probably could never sell for investing in a 75%-90% total restoration that would come close to mid-six figures.
There are other areas that are more afforable and not so historic--but wouldn't those areas be just as difficult to restore? At least in the historic areas there is a chance the house will not be vandalized while working on it.
Then there is just "living" in Detroit. It is a great city--no doubt. But if you commute--the drive is obnoxious. There is no easy route in or out of the city if you are coming from midtown, the New Center Area, let alone from the east side. The ONLY place you experience RUSH hour traffic is on the freeways during work hours. Cross town traffic on the Ford Freeway (aka I-94) is slower than a snail. The Chrysler (aka I75) is loaded with folks coming or going to Oakland County for work. Most work in the suburbs and travel through Detroit.
Then there is day to day living in Detroit. Yes there is some shoping in the city. A few independent grocers--with higher than usual prices. There are CVS stores as well. But it is at night that the real impact of living in Detroit strikes you.
Even during the day, you will see people out in the city. Especially if you are near the DIA. At night there are folks in select areas like The Fox, The Joe (in season), Greek Town and the Casinos. But wander away from these venues, a little farther up Woodward, Gratiot, or VAn Dyke and it is another world.
Our "in your face" moment was going into a Subway's on Woodward one night around 9:00 p.m. We were living on 4th street behind WSU and wanted a late night snack. The first problem is finding a place to go that isn't 10 miles away. We found the subway and walked in to order. We had to talk through 4 inches of polycarbonate. That night we realized our presence in Detroit was not going to make a difference in its immediate future.
There are treasures within the city. Jewels that are not found in any other city, nor will they be seen again once they are "lost" through vandalism or neglect. But one or two individuals will not change that course of destiny. It takes a village to raise a child? It takes a COMMUNITY to save a village.
Bing talks about shuttering areas of the city. What exactly does that mean?
If the areas Bing “shutters” is being abandoned by The City of Detroit, does that mean the space really is “no-man's land”?
If no-man's land is the case, does that mean these “shuttered” areas will be unincorporated from The City of Detroit and by default can be reincorporated into a new city which is formally separating itself from The City of Detroit forever?
If unincorporation is the case, settlers can move in and redevelop the abandoned area into a new town with a new name and new laws and new fire/police protection from the ground up (debt free). The new city can put-up a wall, or moat (think Fox Creek Canal) separating itself from the former The City of Detroit.
I’d be willing to settle into an area unshackled by the dysfunction of The City of Detroit.
Fmax, I would join you if I 1)was in the country at the moment, 2) had any money to be an investor.
Do you have any ideas on what you what like to invest in?
New construction condos? Rehab an old industrial building? Rehab an old apartment building? Open a restaraunt or shop? The east riverfront still has a large number of vacant factory buildings that are just ripe for redevelopment.
Born and raised in Detroit and I hate living here. I knew as a kid that I did not want to live here for the rest of my life. Is Detroit as bad as it is reported?? No, however it can be sometimes. I regret moving back here..
Thank you for that explanation, but you are most likely being modest.
The process of revitalizing a neighborhood that you described can be done. It can be done, but it would be extremely hard work! It would be so awesome, considering how much so many ‘hoods in Detroit have declined!
I know exactly what you mean by being hush-hush about choosing a neighborhood, because the nature of man is that prices will get jacked up if demand increases!
I think a neighborhood that would be a great candidate for such an effort would be the North End, which is the neighborhood east of the New Center area. It has a mix of single-family houses, two-family flats, small apartment buildings, and apartment rows (rowhouse-type housing). Unfortunately, about 35 to 40% of the neighborhood is vacant lots, and many parts of it looks like a "war zone". What makes this neighborhood stand out is:
1) it's only 3-4 miles from downtown
2) it's right off Woodward, so if that Light Rail is ever built, it would benefit from that
3) unlike most Detroit neighborhoods, it has commercial buildings scattered throughout the neighborhood on Brush, John R, and Oakland streets.
I posted several pics of rowhouse type housing in Detroit a few years ago. Go to the middle of the thread to see some in the North End. - Discuss Detroit: Rowhouses
St. Rita Apartment building near old Northern High -http://www.flickr.com/photos/71288712@N00/2534698058/
I’m a single guy with no wife and no kids – I would be an ideal person to get something started…if I get my financial in order, though!
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