TIME Article on Detroit
An article in the most recent issue of Time Magazine highlights some of the serious challenges currently facing Detroit and the fact reality that the problems of a struggling urban center do not respect city limits.
In the section labeled “Reviving Motown,” author Daniel Okrent begins with the question, “what — if anything — can pull this tragic city out of its death spiral?” He answers that, “You could do worse than to begin with some form of regional government.”
Suburban Oakland County, at present relatively prosperous, is bordered by Detroit to the south and Flint to the north.
“Oakland’s prized AAA bond rating is in peril because the rating agencies are mindful of the county’s proximity to Detroit . . . and to Flint . . . .A downgrade could cost [residents] millions of dollars, and as the situation in Detroit deteriorates, [Oakland County Exec. L. Brooks Patterson] and his counterparts in adjacent counties will have no choice but to seek common solutions.”
“For its part, Detroit must address the fact that a 138-sq.-mi. city that once accommodated 1.85 million people is way too large for the 912,000 who remain. The fire, police and sanitation departments couldn’t efficiently service the yawning stretches of barely inhabited areas even if the city could afford to maintain those operations at their former size. Detroit has to shrink its footprint, even if it means condemning decent houses in the gap-toothed areas and moving their occupants to compact neighborhoods where they might find a modicum of security and service. Build greenbelts, which are a lot cheaper to maintain than untraveled streets. Encourage urban farming. Let the barren areas revert to nature.”