Monday, June 15, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking City

This weekend I was back to Michigan for some family stuff. Coincidentally, on the road I was listening to The KunstlerCast podcast that I had just downloaded to my ipod a week or so ago. In this particular podcast, James Howard Kunstler gave a virtual walking tour of Detroit, Michigan, using Google Street View.

Since I was already very familiar with many of the sights and landmarks he noted, I did not need to see the Google views to appreciate the podcast, but I think it is terrific combination of two popular (and free) technologies. I hope he does more of this.

The Kunstlercast is a weekly podcast "about the tragic comedy of suburban sprawl" and other urban issues. Another recent topic was President Obama's high-speed rail proposals. Kunstler describes himself as "one of the world's loudest critics of suburban sprawl and the impending fossil fuel shortage."

Sunday evening, after returning home, while catching up on map blogs, I came across this one from The Map Scroll: The Shrinking of Detroit.

In the last 50 years, the population of Detroit has lost more than half of its population. "About 30% of Detroit is now vacant land — about 40 square miles, by one estimate. Forty square miles is roughly the size of San Francisco."

In an article, posted last week, The Telegraph notes that several U.S. cities, including Detroit and Flint, are dealing with vacant houses by tearing them down and creating new "green space".

Will Urban Agriculture be the next step?


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