Metropopular (by brainpickings)

An animated short film about what American cities would say to one another if they could talk.

More: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/08/31/metropopular/

Detroit has radical plan: Raze the dead in Motor City


PHOTO: Detroit’s abandoned Central Station (Melanie Stetson Freeman/ The Christian Science Monitor)
The July 25th cover story tackles the tricky restructuring of Detroit, a former industrial gem struggling to regain its footing after nearly five decades of economic decline. Writer Mark Gaurino describes the latest plans from Mayor Dave Bing and others to help revitalize a city in which the overabundance of vacant land is currently its biggest resource.  
Part of the Mayor’s plan includes connecting and consolidating neighborhoods separated by abandoned land to create a smaller, more efficient city. This is a lot for a city currently large enough to fit Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston within the 139 square miles inside its borders.

Large swaths of this city look like a ghost town. Blight, resulting from abandoned homes and shuttered factories, is everywhere. Dead zones detach rather than connect neighborhoods from each other, creating a patchwork that the city says makes it too expensive to service. So the mayor has an idea: Draw residents out of marginally populated areas through direct and indirect incentives into a close-knit population core. By razing and repurposing what is left behind, the city might reduce its geographic size and save money by not having to service such far-flung neighborhoods.

One of the challenges to his plan - the city’s 48 unions, which last year cost the city nearly $400 million in healthcare and pension payouts, a figure which remains unsustainable for the struggling city. That amount also leaves Detroit susceptible to being taken over by an emergency financial manager, appointed by the Governor, who is enabled to hire and fire employees, void union contracts, and make changes without the approval of the mayor or city council.
READ: Retooling the Motor City: Can Detroit save itself?
A related business story shares more details of the Mayor’s restructuring plan, which includes demolishing 10,000 vacant and deteriorated homes. That’s nearly one-tenth of the overall 100,718 vacant addresses in the city, which represents 12 percent of the overall city size.
READ: Detroit has radical plan: Raze the dead in Motor City


via climateadaptation:

Detroit has radical plan: Raze the dead in Motor City

PHOTO: Detroit’s abandoned Central Station (Melanie Stetson Freeman/ The Christian Science Monitor)

The July 25th cover story tackles the tricky restructuring of Detroit, a former industrial gem struggling to regain its footing after nearly five decades of economic decline. Writer Mark Gaurino describes the latest plans from Mayor Dave Bing and others to help revitalize a city in which the overabundance of vacant land is currently its biggest resource.  

Part of the Mayor’s plan includes connecting and consolidating neighborhoods separated by abandoned land to create a smaller, more efficient city. This is a lot for a city currently large enough to fit Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston within the 139 square miles inside its borders.

Large swaths of this city look like a ghost town. Blight, resulting from abandoned homes and shuttered factories, is everywhere. Dead zones detach rather than connect neighborhoods from each other, creating a patchwork that the city says makes it too expensive to service. So the mayor has an idea: Draw residents out of marginally populated areas through direct and indirect incentives into a close-knit population core. By razing and repurposing what is left behind, the city might reduce its geographic size and save money by not having to service such far-flung neighborhoods.

One of the challenges to his plan - the city’s 48 unions, which last year cost the city nearly $400 million in healthcare and pension payouts, a figure which remains unsustainable for the struggling city. That amount also leaves Detroit susceptible to being taken over by an emergency financial manager, appointed by the Governor, who is enabled to hire and fire employees, void union contracts, and make changes without the approval of the mayor or city council.

READ: Retooling the Motor City: Can Detroit save itself?

A related business story shares more details of the Mayor’s restructuring plan, which includes demolishing 10,000 vacant and deteriorated homes. That’s nearly one-tenth of the overall 100,718 vacant addresses in the city, which represents 12 percent of the overall city size.

READ: Detroit has radical plan: Raze the dead in Motor City

via climateadaptation:

Which cities can best adapt to climate change? | Grist
Cross-posted from Cool Green Science.
Earlier this month, 35 mayors from major cities around the world convened for the Resilient Cities 2011 Conference and released a declaration [PDF] that highlighted the recent rise in natural disasters and the  imperative for cities to increase their resiliency and ability to adapt  to climate change.
But what does it mean for a city to be “resilient” to climate change?  Which cities are most resilient — and what makes a city vulnerable?
Grist recently ran a slideshow featuring “the top 10 climate ready U.S. cities"  — which was basically a measure of steps those cities were taking to  reduce carbon emissions. What that piece didn’t address is how  vulnerable or resilient a city is to climate change based on the city’s environmental context. For instance: What’s a city’s risk for climate-related disasters? Is its water supply sustainable?
I haven’t seen such a ranking — so I constructed my own simple one,  based on readily available and relevant information. (You can peek at  the results below.) I first factored that cities’ biggest concerns from  climate change include disruptions to water supplies, increased risk of natural disasters (e.g., floods and hurricanes), and the heat itself: In addition to causing general discomfort, heat is already the biggest weather-related source of mortality.

Which cities can best adapt to climate change? | Grist

Cross-posted from Cool Green Science.

Earlier this month, 35 mayors from major cities around the world convened for the Resilient Cities 2011 Conference and released a declaration [PDF] that highlighted the recent rise in natural disasters and the imperative for cities to increase their resiliency and ability to adapt to climate change.

But what does it mean for a city to be “resilient” to climate change? Which cities are most resilient — and what makes a city vulnerable?

Grist recently ran a slideshow featuring “the top 10 climate ready U.S. cities" — which was basically a measure of steps those cities were taking to reduce carbon emissions. What that piece didn’t address is how vulnerable or resilient a city is to climate change based on the city’s environmental context. For instance: What’s a city’s risk for climate-related disasters? Is its water supply sustainable?

I haven’t seen such a ranking — so I constructed my own simple one, based on readily available and relevant information. (You can peek at the results below.) I first factored that cities’ biggest concerns from climate change include disruptions to water supplies, increased risk of natural disasters (e.g., floods and hurricanes), and the heat itself: In addition to causing general discomfort, heat is already the biggest weather-related source of mortality.

Three projects that are watering Detroit’s ‘food desert’ | Feeding the City | Grist
When I visited Detroit in June, I expected to find a kind of post-apocalyptic metropolis — a crumbling, near-empty city plagued by crime, poverty, and despair. As expected, every neighborhood I visited did feature empty lots, abandoned factories, and crumbling buildings. I didn’t see a single full-service supermarket — the city doesn’t have one — but I saw dozens and dozens of liquor stores. Although the city’s economic and social problems are stark, as I covered in my Detroit overview for Feeding the City, what I found amid the post-industrial rubble was a veritable beehive of community organizing.

Three projects that are watering Detroit’s ‘food desert’ | Feeding the City | Grist

When I visited Detroit in June, I expected to find a kind of post-apocalyptic metropolis — a crumbling, near-empty city plagued by crime, poverty, and despair. As expected, every neighborhood I visited did feature empty lots, abandoned factories, and crumbling buildings. I didn’t see a single full-service supermarket — the city doesn’t have one — but I saw dozens and dozens of liquor stores. Although the city’s economic and social problems are stark, as I covered in my Detroit overview for Feeding the City, what I found amid the post-industrial rubble was a veritable beehive of community organizing.

Get Fresh Detroit works to increase access to fresh and healthy foods  by transforming the retail and distribution of fresh produce into a  sustainable operation for corner stores, food pantries, and other  food-service organizations that face challenging barriers in stocking  fresh produce. They are using a Kickstarter campaign to fundraise for a delivery vehicle, the Get Fresh Express, which comes equipped with fresh-keeping refrigeration  and copious space to service 50 stores and 30 pantries.

Get Fresh Detroit works to increase access to fresh and healthy foods by transforming the retail and distribution of fresh produce into a sustainable operation for corner stores, food pantries, and other food-service organizations that face challenging barriers in stocking fresh produce. They are using a Kickstarter campaign to fundraise for a delivery vehicle, the Get Fresh Express, which comes equipped with fresh-keeping refrigeration and copious space to service 50 stores and 30 pantries.

LivingSocial Now Offers Daily Deals For 52 Cities – 25 More Than Yesterday

LivingSocial, the daily deal site that is often referred to as the main competitor to Groupon (see our extensive guide on group-buying sites in the United States and beyond here), is experiencing fast growth.

Rather than launching in one new city on a regular basis, like Groupon tends to do, the company this morning announced that it has added 25 live markets to its roster, nearly doubling the amount of cities it offers daily deals in.

The social commerce startup is now effectively live in 52 markets and 3 countries (the U.S., UK and Canada), now that it has added cities like Sacramento, Miami, Las Vegas, Toronto, Memphis, Buffalo, Detroit and Vancouver to the fray.

(Read more on Techcrunch)

DETROIT — With $6,000 and some Hollywood-style spunk, four friends opened this city’s only independent foreign movie house three months ago in an abandoned school auditorium on an unlighted stretch of the Cass Corridor near downtown.