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Old 04-22-2010, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Arlington Virginia
4,538 posts, read 8,140,304 times
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I listen daily to a sports talk radio program, The Tony Kornheiser Show where the subjects frequently range outside the stadiums and arenas. It was interesting yesterday when Tony was talking to a guest from Detroit Michigan and asked him why he stayed there when the conditions there are so poor. The guest expressed his love for his hometown, and then went on to explain some surprising facts about his town. He said that city was built up to accommodate its population during the boom times, but that now, way less than half of those population numbers reside there. There are mile after mile of abandoned, unoccupied buildings and facilities. The prospect is that the boom time population will never return.

The guest said that the proposition now is to "shrink the city" and demolish all this empty excess and return the land to farms, forests and fields. I've never heard such a thing! One usually hears the opposite, bemoaning developers turning rural lands into town house developments and shopping malls. I find this very interesting, as one who has read post-apocalyptic fiction where the cities are abandoned and turn into massive ruins. This is a fascinating and thought provoking idea What do you think about this?
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:41 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,262 posts, read 21,107,199 times
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There was an article in Forbes about this millionaire who is planning a big green farm, with high-tech features, in downtown Detroit. There has been scattered farming done already around Detroit, small-scale entrepreneurs, who are opposed to his gigantic project, as it may put them out of business.

As the land becomes more scarce around the world, I see reversals taking place, suburbs to back to farms. But the price of the land, and the profits from farming, haven't reached that level yet for that to happen in many areas of the country.

Deserts grow in size every year, there's little to stop their progression.
Look at the Gobi desert in China, as it marches its way towards Beijing, little by little.

Yes, in areas in northern Africa, as the desert encroaches on the arable land, they can build the walls just so high to prevent the sand from taking over an area and mighty expensive to do so.

Desert enroaching in the world will help make this an eventuality. Global world is global world.
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Old 04-23-2010, 05:29 AM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
2,777 posts, read 7,112,721 times
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Yes, I've seen some news footage of self-sufficiency activist groups reclaiming land in Detroit for community gardens/farms. You can argue whether the projects can effectively feed the local populace but there is always the added benefit of re-establishing peoples connections to what is natural and living. DEAD houses, vacant dead land, dead souls vs. inhabited homes, fruitful land, living souls.

I'm all for it.
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:33 AM
 
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I remember reading about the shrinking city idea in Germany a few years ago. You may find these links interesting:

Shrinking City Syndrome - NYTimes.com

shrinkingcities : Welcome
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:21 AM
 
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Kinda hard to return parking lots and industrial areas back into farms.

When concrete, tar, or industrial areas are built, the top soil is scraped off and hauled away.

Gravel is hauled in and packed down with heavy equipment to form a solid base for concrete and tar.

Many rural, farm areas have zoning laws in affect to preserve the remaining farmland. Their rationale is that once farmland is turned into concrete or tar it is lost forever.

Once you lose ( scrape away,haul away) topsoil, you have only subsoil left.
Subsoul is not good for raising anything.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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Interesting idea. Who would own the land? The city? And if so, what would prevent them from selling the land for another parking lot or building in the future?
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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Ever try farming a gravel pit?

However, even smaller gravel pits had the topsoil removed and piled to the side.

After the gravel pit was done being used , the area was leveled and the last thing was that pile of topsoil was spread over the lveled ground to restore it.

Where are those huge piles of topsoil next to parking lots and industrial areas near Detroit?

Long gone, hauled away.
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Old 04-23-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNC4Me View Post
Interesting idea. Who would own the land? The city? And if so, what would prevent them from selling the land for another parking lot or building in the future?
My guess is that most communities first set up a land bank.

Land Banks

marmac brings ups a good point too. Not all of this vacant land will be arable. I know that in our town we have way too many vacant (and abandoned?) former gas stations. Those will be a mess to clean up. We're going to have to put on our thinking caps and think of some creative "other uses" for these empty spaces.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
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I would hate to see all of those gorgeous old homes demolished, but that maybe the best solution.
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Nort Seid
5,288 posts, read 7,585,919 times
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I've read a few stories on this, Detroit gets singled out due to how many homes have been abandoned and literally left to return to nature.

So in general I'd say this is unlikely for urban areas, but Detroit may be an exception as some of the housing in question is substandard, and the residential lots may be largely arable land as opposed to paved over.
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