The Art (and Science?) of Designing Urban Planning Processes

Posted: September 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Detroit, Public Participation, Urban Development | Comments Off

In June I published an op-ed in the Detroit News describing my research on urban renewal in Detroit in the 1940s. I concluded with the observation:

The voices of citizens affected by renewal must be heard. Dramatic, large-scale projects can have harmful and unexpected consequences. The history of urban planning has shown success occurs through a careful process of building consensus, detailed analysis and cooperative action.

In response Marja Winters, the city’s deputy director of planning and development, wrote an editorial arguing the process has been highly participatory, involving 28 city-wide meetings and 10,000 citizens, and large numbers of participants said they agreed they had had the opportunity to share ideas and opinions.

(As an aside: She objected to a line which read “The plan calls for closing neighborhoods, cutting services and cultivating new industries.” I agree with her criticism: the words aren’t mine, but those of a Detroit News editor. The manuscript I submitted read: “The Detroit Works Project — Mayor Bing’s roadmap for the city’s future — has proposed dramatic solutions: closing neighborhoods, cutting services, and cultivating new industries.”)

I have not attended the Detroit Works public meetings or examined the process, so I cannot critique it in detail. The first major policy initiative coming out of the process was announced in July, but amounted to the selection of some priority areas for city services. The proposal left some puzzled. Where was the grand vision, or bold proposals? Perhaps there is no need for “planning” at all, just better urban management? (See “Questions dog Detroit Works plan: Advocates want to see long-term strategy“)

This situation and Winters’ article raises interesting questions: is all participation alike? Can the design of the process affect the outcome? What models exist for planning for “shrinking cities”?

It is common for major urban plans or policies to be developed through quite elaborate processes. For example, I collected this diagram that was circulated in the early stages of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan:

Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan

In general, their design is left up to professionals who draw upon professional experience. Most process designs characterize several aspects: problem definition, deliberation and participation, analysis, policy design, and decision-making. Under each of these, details include:
– The number, type, mission, membership and missions of committees
– What expertise and analysis is required, and how they are involved
– The timing, nature, and purpose of broader participation such as meetings, surveys, and online engagement
– How decisions will be made.

One of the cleares descriptions of how processes are designed for local contexts comes from Barbara Faga’s book Designing Public Consensus. After several case studies, the book presents the following public process plan as a starting point:

Design Process + Public Process

This way of thinking is not unique to urban planning. As the field of risk assessment has become embroiled in value-laden controversies, experts have had to re-assess their approached. In 1996, leaders in the field proposed an analytic-deliberative model that seeks to tightly link the needed analysis with involvement from affected parties.

Analytic-Deliberative Process

Perhaps the most common process theory for large-scale planning is scenario planning (PDF), adopted from methodologies invented by the private sector for corporate planning. Although providing guidance for how thoughtful “scenarios” can be used to consider options for the future, scenario planning’s participatory logic is underdeveloped.

The crowning achievement of process thinking in public policy may be the consensus building approach (CBA), a method for resolving dilemmas often associated with Larry Susskind, a MIT professor of urban studies and planning. This negotiation methodology has strict requirements for the nature of the problems where it can be applied, how stakeholders are identified and included, and how negotiation should move forward. However it’s not clear how this approach — designed to intervene in acrimonious public debates about clear problems or decisions — applies to the problem of urban planning.

If there is an art to process design, can there be a science? It is rarely studied for a variety of reasons. First is the argument that process doesn’t matter. It could be that the outcome is the same regardless of what is done, or the real decisions that matter are being made elsewhere — by powerful elected officials or market actors. Second, from a social science perspective, studying them is maddeningly difficult. There are too many confounding variables and no clear to measure. What would you measure, and how? For this reason there are many descriptive case studies that steer clear of specific details. Lastly, analyzing processes requires a different form of knowledge than found in most research. Instead of theory that describes reality, we need a theory of what would happen given a certain sequence of events or actions.

Theory aside, how do you plan for Detroit? A good process would focus first on the goal. What is the “problem” in Detroit, anyway? It could be too much land, too few jobs, high crime, or a lack of revenue for government services. Although they are related, tackling any one means clarifying what the priorities are.

The most direct case for Detroit is the Youngstown 2010 project in Youngstown, Ohio. This process involved large-scale participation and a vision and plan adopted by the city council which anticipates significant changes to accommodate a permanently reduced population. Here is the process diagram from Faga’s book:

Youngstown 2010

Where Detroit Works — or any other large-scale planning in Detroit — should go depends on what the local stakeholders seek to accomplish. Although any process must be locally tailored, the process designers aren’t starting from scratch. The models described above can be used to design a process that reflects both values and practical needs to involve the public, detailed analysis, and come to agreement on a solution to public problems.


How Should Detroit Plan for the Future?

Posted: June 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Detroit, Urban Development | 2 Comments »

The Detroit News published an op-ed I wrote about lessons learned about urban renewal from my undergraduate thesis.

Detroit is facing big problems: declining population, budget deficits and a stagnant economy.

Discussions about fixing the city has generated dramatic ideas, including the Detroit Works Project — Mayor Bing’s roadmap for the city’s future. The plan calls for closing neighborhoods, cutting services and cultivating new industries. But even with the best of intentions, if city leaders don’t learn from the city’s urban renewal mistakes of the past, Detroit will be doomed to repeat them.

Although Detroit’s population has declined by more than 1.3 million since 1950, the problems of how to make tough decisions remain unchanged.

The Detroit News: “Citizens Need Voice in Renewal“Detroit_News_RGoodspeed


Detroit and the Limits to Urban Decline

Posted: March 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Detroit, Housing, Michigan, Urban Development, Urbanism and Planning | 6 Comments »

Since the middle of the 20th Century, no American city has experienced the severe economic shock experienced in Detroit. Analyzing the housing of the city, I found the city’s shrinking housing stock has declined at almost precisely the same amount per year, every year: 1% of the existing stock lost. This underlying regularity, independent apparent yearly fluctuations, created the current landscape of the city and shape possible responses.

The numbers quantifying the cause of urban decline in the American Rustbelt are staggering. Between 1980 and 1990 alone, the Northeast and Midwest lost 1.5 million manufacturing jobs and $40 billion (in 1998 $) in aggregate manufacturing worker earnings. During the same time period, central counties of the 28 metro areas in the Midwest and Northeast regions lost 1 million manufacturing jobs. (Kasarda, 2001) The industrial jobs, generally secure and good-paying, constituted the core of the urban economy. Their departure was magnified many times as it rippled more broadly through the economy, as the service jobs supported by the core industries disappeared. African Americans were particularly hard hit. Millions of jobs left, but new jobs were not easily accessible and often required high education levels. These so-called spatial and skill mismatches resulted in skyrocketing jobless rates among central-city blacks. One economist found that by 1990, four fifths of young inner city school dropouts were unemployed. In Detroit, by 1990 Detroit was 79% black and the surrounding suburbs 79% white. For the uninitiated, Thomas Sugrue’s excellent Origins of the Urban Crisis contains a detailed history of the origins of economic decline.

Metropolitan Context

SEMCOG MapBefore I plunge into an analysis of the City of Detroit’s housing stock, it should be noted that the majority of jobs and people in the metropolitan area live outside of the city limits, and also that within the city there exists many middle class and even upper class neighborhoods. Although containing vacant land and buildings, the city presents the visitors a strange combination of energy and investment with decay and abandonment. (Captured well in this blog post) The map to the right, produced by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), shows the vast scale of the metropolis — only the green central municipality is the City of Detroit.

Population, Detroit and Southeast Michigan

Housing in Economic Decline

Economists theorize that the rate of urban decline is largely determined by the durability of the housing stock. In short, even if the jobs are gone the physical persistence of homes mean people will continue to live there. In a shrinking city, first the households size decrease as the declined population is spread more thinly among the surviving buildings. After reduced household sizes, the market begins to abandon houses. Homeowners may move to the suburbs or out of state, retaining title to the property. Some default on mortgages or fail to pay taxes, resulting in thousands owned by various units of government. In Detroit, tens of thousands of vacant buildings and lots are owned by the city, state, county, and other public agencies.

publicly owned land

Detroit

The vacant structures are dislike by the remaining population. They shelter criminals and drug users, packs of feral dogs, and pose a physical hazard through collapse and lead paint. A strong demolition policy has become an article of faith for city politicians. Unbuilding has surpassed building as the citys major architectural activity, quipped one architect. Between 1978 and 1990, the city issued 9,000 building permits and 108,000 demolition permits. All told, between 1970 and 2000, over 161,000 houses were demolished, a figure one journalist points out constitutes more than the total number of occupied dwellings in the city of Cincinnati today. Nonetheless the citys severe lack of funding meant demolition could never keep up with abandonment. The U.S. Census estimated in 2006 that fully 23% of the housing stock still standing, or 85,951 units, were vacant. Since 1970, the city has had a net loss of housing units every year according to SEMCOG permit data:

Detroit Construction

Economists Edward Glaeser and Joseph Gyourko observed in a 2005 paper that the maximum rate of decline for housing seems to be about 1% per year. Without speculating the causes of this speed limit to housing decline, they observe that no matter how fast the jobs disappear, the housing stock rarely declines at a faster rate. I created a graph showing the number of housing units from 1970 to 2008. The U.S. Census counts show a greater decline than is reflected in the construction and demolition permits, a discrepancy caused by unpermitted activity, record-keeping error, and perhaps different definitions of housing units. However, I defer to the U.S. Census to establish starting and end points. The annual net changes from housing permits are inflated 11% so that the total matches the observed change from U.S. Census data over the same period. This method captures the variability shown above, while ensuring the starting and ending points match the Census. Superimposed on the results is a fixed 1% annual decline from the 1970 housing units.

Microsoft Excel

The correlation is striking. If we extend beyond, we can see what the formula predicts. Again, this is not a projection, but simply an extrapolation of a 1% rate of decline from the 1970 Census. The true rate of decline may vary from the formula thanks to public policies, such as public demolitions, or arson. Of course, at any point if the city started growing again we would expect the actual number of units to level off or even increase.

Microsoft Excel

Planning For Decline

How public authorities can plan during decline is an important and under-studied issue. The Shrinking Cities project has sparked discussions around this topic, and officials in Michigan have become leaders by virtue of their unique circumstances. The Genesee County Land Bank in the Flint area (which has experienced similar decline, albeit at a smaller scale) has become a national leader. Their approach is that a government agency should obtain full title to abandoned properties, demolish or stabilize them, clean the lots, and then sell them back to the private market in a controlled way. By limiting the supply the government can realize market, or above-market prices for vacant land and buildings. There have been discussions for creating a similar land bank for Detroit, or Wayne County, and this 2006 report by students at the University of Michigan is an excellent examination of the issue. Of course, for the land bank model to work some private-sector demand must exist for land, and revenues from property sales must cover the costs of program administration. In the absence of a demand for land for new housing in Detroit, any hypothetical land bank would have to find buyers interested in land for commercial, agricultural, or other purposes.

UntitledAnother approach with a lot of energy is urban agriculture. One of the most ambitious plans for large-scale urban agriculture was developed by students at the University of Detroit-Mercy. Their Adamah plan proposed resurrecting a buried stream, and creating a dairy, tree farm, vegetable gardens, shrimp farm, and wind power. Although nobody has attempted it as the scale envisioned by the plan, today in Detroit 220 family gardens, 115 community gardens and 20 schools participate in the city’s Garden Resource Program. When BLDG Blog’s Geoff Manaugh published a conceptual proposal for converting vacant property in Philadelphia into agricultural land, it provoked this comment:

“i live in west philadelphia, where there are already dozens of ‘abandoned’ lots in my immediate neighborhood that are being used for both small and large-scale gardening. they have it going on up in northern liberties, too. these were started up without the benefit of instructions from some blogger in his ivory tower. it seems that some things just aren’t brilliant ideas until some mouse-pusher who has never stepped out from his/her fluorescent office ‘imagines’ it.

The same is true to a lesser extent in Detroit, where even un-planted fields can begin to resemble cultivated ones:

Rethink Urbanism - RGoodspeed-Final.pptx

Most troubling is the relationship between economic decline, physical abandonment, and social problems. Economists argue the low housing prices in the city will attract those with low levels of “human capital,” creating a cycle of decline. If low levels of human capital then create negative externalities or result in lower levels of innovation, this becomes particularly troubling because a self-reinforcing process can result in which an initial decline causes concentrated poverty, which then pushes the city further downward.” The barriers to overcome this cycle of economic decline are great, and renewal in Detroit will mean not only increasing numbers of jobs and residents but a reversal of decades of compounding problems.

Resources
> LOST Magazine: Dissapeared Detroit
> Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
> Planning for Detroit’s Tax-Reverted Properties: Possibilities for the Wayne County Land Bank

(Cited: Kasarda, John D. Industrial Restructuring and Changing Location of Jobs. in State of the Union: America in the 1990s, Volume I: Economic Trends. R. Farley, ed. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2001). Glaeser, Edward L. and Joseph Gyourko. Urban Decline and Durable Housing. Journal of Political Economy 113:2 (2005).)


Detroit Plans Airport City

Posted: September 24th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Detroit, Michigan, Urban Development | 5 Comments »

But will the aerotropolis be ‘cool’?

sky upon landing at DTW 3Cities have always developed around modes of transit, whether they were key crossroads, strategic port harbors and rivers, or major railroad depots. Why not around airports? That question is being asked more often as the volume of air travel continues to increase and airports and the land around them become increasingly urbanized. John D. Kasarda, a professor at University of North Carolina’s business school who has written widely on the topic, described these emerging cities in the May 2006 edition of the magazine The Next American City. Noting that large airports now “have the density of highway and transit connections that are usually associated only with CBDs” Kasarda predicts that although these “Aerotropoli” have evolved spontaneously to date, these new cities “will require localized infrastructure planning of unprecedented scale” if they are to solve — or prevent — serious development problems.

Airports have long been recognized as engines of local economic growth. Urban Age magazine noted in 1999 that between 1960 and 1995, air transport increased at an annual rate of 11.1 percent for cargo and 8.9 percent for passengers, nearly triple the rate of overall economic growth. According to their statistics, over 1,000 jobs are created for every 1 million passengers, and the article notes the wide variety of “hotels, exhibition halls, businesses and conference centers” that choose to locate near airports.

In few places could an airport assume a larger role in economic and urban development than Detroit, Michigan. Thanks largely to a declining manufacturing sector Michigan’s unemployment rate has been higher than the national average since 2000. In August, Michigan was tied with Mississippi for the highest level of unemployment in the nation – 7.1%. Growth in the “knowledge-based” sector has lagged behind the national average. The state’s Life Sciences Corridor is a state effort to cultivate a potentially lucrative new industry. Inspired by the theories of Richard Florida that knowledge-industry workers (he calls them the “creative class“) are attracted to high quality cities, the state’s Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm launched a Cool Cities Initiative in 2004 to attract, retain, and potentially incubate the workers of the creative economy. Google’s recent decision to locate a major employment center in Ann Arbor was viewed by state leaders as a vindication of this new, urban-based approach to economic development.

Although Florida’s controversial theories can be somewhat ethereal, the economic impact of Michigan’s largest airport are refreshingly concrete. A recent study released this year by the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and the University of Michigan – Dearborn concluded the airport’s 36 million passengers were responsible for 70,000 jobs and demand for $7.6 billion in goods and services in the state. The airport is not only a major domestic hub but also handles over 2.8 million international passengers, making it the 11th largest in North America and 20th largest in the world in 2005. The airport opened the new McNamara Terminal in 2002, which features 122 gates, a 400-room luxury hotel, and in-terminal automated tram system. Another new 26-gate terminal is expected to open in 2008.

For these reasons local government officials together with Prof. Kasarda and the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Urban Planning sponsored a 3-day design charrette in January 2006 titled “Aerotropolis, A new city: YIP/DTW” to create designs for a new city near the airport. The New York Times recently described the charrette in the context of increased activity at Willow Run Airport — a small airport used for charter flights located just down the road from the much larger DTW — in the story, “Living at the Crossroads, Working There, Too” The article reports that over 160,000 passengers will use the Willow Run airport on charter and corporate shuttle flights this year. A new, airport-based city is a “logical step for Detroit,” points out the Times, noting development in the city has “followed the transportation innovations sail, steam, rail, auto and jet of every era stretching back to the citys founding in 1701.”

Portion of supersonics TOD
777s master plan
Stratocruisers Metro City

What ideas did the students come up with? Although the posted presentations contain little explanatory text, they give some idea of each team’s general approach. The “Supersonics” team proposed a variety of development in the region including both a dense, transit oriented development and luxuriously suburban plans for use-segregated superblocks reminiscent (for me, at least) of Detroit’s land use plans from the 1940s and 50s. The “777’s” plan seems the most practical – it preserves a greenway along local waterways and identifies a corridor for development between the two airports along a proposed transit line. The “Stratocruisers” propose infill development for the small cities in the area in addition to a compact Metro City aligned carefully near both freeways and transit, just across I-94 from the airport. For reference they have slides superimposing portions of Paris and Washington, D.C. over the planned site. Their design for Metro City contains a gridiron with a radial avenue and two circles inspired by the Baroque city planning tradition that shapes Paris and Washington.

Although I think the exercise is worthwhile, the plans all seem a little to prescribed to be either economically or politically feasible. The Times points out the plans will require the municipalities adopt a “regional master land use plan, common architectural standards and zoning that mandates the look and location of buildings.” The Detroit Free Press did a good job last April of analyzing some of the obstacles to realizing such a bold, large-scale vision. My conception of planning tries to steer clear of this sort of government micromanaging in favor of providing for a more general framework for growth. Also, the student’s presentations do not mention the state’s Cool Cities program, which has the stated goals of “Building vibrant, energetic cities that attract jobs, people and opportunity to our state.” Many of the greenfield development schemes in the plans seem destined to produce sterile, “no-place places,” (to quote the phrase my girlfriend Libby used about the project) instead of authentic, dynamic cities. I don’t think the creative class is itching to move into master-planned superblocks in suburban Michigan. The dense transit-based developments might be more successful, but if built would likely replicate the much-criticized synthetic feel of other New Urbanist projects like Celebration or The Kentlands.

bellevilleIf local leaders are serious about cultivating an Aerotropolis, both feasibility and “Cool Cities” criteria demand design decisions should be based firmly around existing urban infrastructure and unique qualities of the region. Sinuous Belleville Lake could present some interesting development options given its proximity to both airports and the region’s two major highways – I-94 and I-275. Indeed, the 777’s plan proposes a development just across the lake from the existing city of Belleville. light rail proposalUnfortunately, the current proposed route for a light rail connection between Detroit and Ann Arbor runs well north of either airports, directly through the city of Wayne, where the Stratocruisers’ plan calls for 400,000 sq ft of building footprints on a wedge of land currently occupied by low-density uses.

If local leaders want to cultivate urban development around DTW, I think the best path would avoid Braslia-like suburban design, and focus on creating a framework plan that protects open space and guides growth towards transit and existing urban infrastructure.


Detroit’s ‘Dream Cruise’

Posted: August 20th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Detroit, Michigan, Politics | 2 Comments »

Last Saturday’s Woodward Dream Cruise, billed by organizers as “the worlds largest one-day celebration of car culture,” is a car show featuring over 40,000 cars cruising along a 16-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue through nine different suburban cities. (I was able to catch a bit on Friday when I was in the Detroit area visiting Libby) Organizers estimate the crowds on a rainy Saturday near 1 million, but the event can draw as much as a half a million more with good weather. Interestingly, the cruise doesn’t actually start inside the limits of the Motor City but at 8 Mile, its northern bountary. The Detroit Free Press described this year’s efforts to extend the event to the heart of the city:

If the rain diminished the action north of 8 Mile, it devastated the first attempt to bring the cruise into Detroit. A small but enthusiastic group of volunteers huddled under a tent on Pontchartrain, waiting to pass out Cruise in Detroit maps. But by noon, just two cruisers had cruised all the way to Detroit and the T-Plex Museum on Piquette and Brush. When the driving tour ended late Saturday, 46 had taken part, said Chris Kempa, a project leader with Detroit Synergy, the volunteer group that sponsored the tour.”It would have been a lot better had it not been for the rain,” he said.

While Detroit residents enjoyed the event, news from the domestic auto industry continues to be dismal. Coverage of the Dream Cruise in Saturday’s Free Press shared space with a story reporting that Ford is cutting domestic production 21% for the last three months of 2006. Michigan’s unemployment rate is currently at 7%, making it the state with the second highest unemployment level in the country. The state’s economy is the top issue in the state’s gubernatorial race where Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm is facing former Amway executive Dick DeVos.

> Free Press Dream Cruise page
> Detroit News Dream Cruise page
> Dream Cruise official website

Photos taken by Flickr user MadisonAvenue


Good Urbanism In Downtown Detroit

Posted: December 2nd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Detroit, Michigan, Photos, Travel, Urban Development | Comments Off

When I was in Michigan last week on vacation I took a trip to downtown Detroit with my girlfriend Libby to go ice skating at Campus Martius Park and dine in Mexicantown in the city’s Southwest side. Campus Martius park re-opened in 2004 after undergoing a major upgrade to coincide with the recent opening of a large new building overlooking the park — Compuware building which included Detroit’s first Hard Rock Cafe and a Borders book store, considered a good sign for the city’s downtown economic vitality.

In my opinion the park was an unqualified urban success. The crosswalks and curbing surrounding the park were pedestrian-friendly and not an afterthought, and the park contained not only the small ice rink but also Michigan’s only Au Bon Pain, both busy with customers, as well as a water fountain topped by a seasonal holiday tree. In the short time we skated a wedding party arrived for photos in front of the fountain and all sorts of people were there to skate, watch, or mill about. (Click the picture for the full site plan.)

While much of the rest of the city is an unfriendly environment for pedestrians (due both to deliberate planning decisions, depopulation and economic trouble), at its heart was a nucleus of vibrant, successful urbanism. (To quote one blogger on the park: “It just seems so “big city.” I mean, Borders, Hard Rock Cafe, Compuware World Headquarters and an ice skating rink–in Detroit. Pinch me.”) Whether or not a comprehensive tourism and development strategy can be built on pleasant urban spaces I have no doubt the small rink and park will eventually fully repay any public cost through the revenue from the skating ($7 for admission, $3 for skates) and taxes from the increased economic activity in the area.

In doing some googling I came across a quote by landscape architect Paul Friedberg in an article in Cornell’s alumni magazine about his life where he sums up his philosophy of successful urban space:

“People give space its energy,” he says. “Space by itself can be beautiful, but people give it excitement. Rockefeller Center without ice skating, without people hanging around it, would be very dull. Animate it with people and you’ve got a beautiful, dynamic space.”

This sentiment echoes many other urban theorists, and brings to mind for me Jane Jacobs, who argues in a chapter she calls “The uses of neighborhood parks” in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities that “people do not use city open space just because it is there and because city planners or designers wish they would,” urging city planners to fill their parks with activities to draw human activities and connect them to vibrant streets. She concludes “Every city district could probably enjoy rand use an outdoor park ice rink if it had one, and provide a population of entranced watchers too … city parks are not abstractions, or automatic repositories of virtue or uplift … they mean nothing divorced from their practical, tangible uses.”

It seems the park has also been well received by Detroiters, also. One blogger goes so far as calling it a ‘turning point’ for the city:

Sometimes those who live, work, or frequent downtown [Detroit] tend to forget how much has taken place these past few years. Todd’s visit was somewhat of a reminder to me on just how desolate things were just a few years ago. In all honesty, Campus Martius was the turning point for this city. It has become the central destination and proved just how significant when literally thousands turned out for the tree lighting a few weeks ago. I heard complaints from many about how crowded it was, it may drive some away in the following years. Yet people not coming around because its too damn crowded is definitely a problem new to Detroit and one I will gladly accept.

While I am not optimistic of any serious urban renaissance for Detroit as long as it is the largest city in a state with a stagnant economy and highest jobless rate in the nation, where the vast majority of urban development continues to be at the fringes of the metropolis due to racism and deliberate public policy choices. Yet the park should be celebrated as a constructive and pragmatic approach to revitalization. My only complaint: the music selection for the skating seemed a bit off. The Motown hits seemed appropriate, but some of the more recent pop tracks have not aged as well. Since it’s only their second winter, I suppose I should cut them some slack to fine-tune their selections.

See more of my photos of the Campus Martius skating rink.


The Detroit Solution

Posted: September 2nd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Detroit, Michigan, Politics | Comments Off

From Detroit’s WDIV:

DETROIT — Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said Thursday afternoon that the city would open its doors for victims of Hurricane Katrina, Local 4 reported.

Kilpatrick said he has been working with Alphonso Jackson, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other White House officials to find local housing for evacuees.

“We have told the federal government that we here in the city of Detroit are willing to step up and accept evacuees from both Louisiana and Mississippi,” Kilpatrick said.

The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and local hotel owners have also been meeting with city officials and have determined that about 2,000 to 3,000 rooms would be available for hurricane victims, according to the mayor.

And Arborupdate readers pondering the idea.

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