Detroit – What’s up, what’s next

Urban agriculture in Detroit is a well developed activity that involves many small scale projects, as Kathryn Lynch Underwood, City Planner of the Detroit City Planning Commission, gently explained to CITIES:

“Detroit currently has over 900 family, school and community gardens with a full-fledged urban agriculture education program sponsored by a collaborative of non-profits and Michigan State University.  There are at least three small-scale existing farms as well as several proposals for large-scale commercial projects. This office is  spearheading the City effort to devise policy and zoning codes to allow current activities as well as to facilitate proposed projects.”

At the same time, Hantz Farms plans to redevelop 50 acres (200 sqm) of residential land into the larges urban farm of the USA…

But Detroit is much more, and not everybody agrees about the possibility to rely on urban agriculture…

While well-meaning, Hantz’s plans for agricultural autarky are misguided. The lack of fresh produce in inner-city Detroit–not to mention the absence of supermarket chains –has more to do with crushing poverty than logistics. Self-sufficiency isn’t possible anyway; even with his hydroponic greenhouses, there simply isn’t enough land for cities to support themselves. And his requests for tax breaks and subsidies divert attention and resources away from the real work of creating new industries for the region’s inhabitants.

Greg Lindsay, Aerotropolis (to be publish in February 2011)

For a complete overview, check the article online

Created on 25 March 2010

Related research themes

Research into urban agriculture projects and farming within cities ( www.farmingthecity.net )
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