Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The emptying of Detroit and HelpmeleaveDetroit.com

In 1950, Detroit had almost two million residents, now less than 1 million call the Motor City home.

At some point, the exodus has to end, right?

Well, not now. If anything, because of the recession, which arguably began a year earlier in Michigan than the rest of the nation, the exit ramp is more crowded than ever, as the Detroit Free Press informs us.

Detroit already suffers more vacancy than any city in the nation, except perhaps post-Katrina New Orleans, urban planners and academic researchers said. An estimated 40 square miles of the city's 139 square miles of land are now vacant, an amount of land roughly the size of San Francisco or Boston.

The extent of the tax foreclosures underscores the efforts by Mayor Dave Bing, planners and activists in and out of city government to find new purposes for the land, including urban agriculture and greenways.

The foreclosure crisis has added significantly to the problem. Detroit's Office of Foreclosure Prevention said last week that 17.3% of Detroit's residences had gone through foreclosure through the end of 2008, with many more added this year.

At the corner of Freud and Dickerson on Detroit's east side, a parcel of vacant land stretches seemingly for blocks without a single house or other structure on it.

On a more poignant level, one Detroit man wants to leave the city, so he set up a web site, Help Me Leave Detroit.

I live in Detroit. I am a skilled pipefitter, yet I am unemployed. Detroit's unemployment rate is at a record 28.7 percent. 1/3 of Detroiters live at or below the poverty line. Crime is rampant. My house has been burglarized 9 times. My car window was bust by a thief who I caught breaking into the house down the street. He did it when he was released from jail a few weeks after being arrested for the burglary. The houses on both sides of me are vacant. One is a crack house. There is open drug use at an epidemic level. Violence is out of control. Those of you that know me remember how beautiful the neighborhood used to be. Now its too dangerous for me to even stay there. On average, 1 person is shot or killed here everyday. Google it. Or watch the many documentary clips on youtube.

Hey, at least he's not begging the government to find a new home for him.

Related post:

Large scale farming may be coming to Detroit

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