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[17 Dec 2013 | No Comment | ]
Essay: East Side Noel Night in Detroit

Driving home last night, my head was full of blue eyes and good conversation. The taco place, the tree-trimming party, the jazz show, the unexpected commonalities.

I turned the radio up and took city streets home, drove the scenic route of East Warren since it was too late to take a good-mood-victory-lap on Belle Isle. I noticed bars I’d never realized were there, pools of light surrounded by clusters of cars in the dark Detroit night. I drummed on the steering wheel and made a mental note to maybe check one or two of them out some time.

Architecture, Crime, Economic Development, Featured, Great Lakes, Politics, Public Transportation, Race Relations, Real Estate, Sports, Sprawl, The Media, U.S. Auto Industry, Urban Planning, Urban Poverty »

[5 Aug 2013 | No Comment | ]
Shared Responsibility for Detroit’s Woes

As a Michigander for the past 21 years, I’ve heard my share of Detroit criticisms, jokes, and put downs, both from within and outside the Great Lakes State. While fingers can be  pointed at the lack of past civic and political leadership in Detroit, our collective actions (or lack thereof) can certainly share in the responsibility. Some may scoff at such a notion, but here’re a few reasons why:

As a nation we elected leaders who adopted a tax code and laws that advocated, promoted, and accelerated flight from cities and …

Crime »

[24 Jul 2013 | No Comment | ]

Now that ANOTHER serial killer has been apprehended in Cleveland–well, actually, East Cleveland–the city is laser-focused on what’s most important about this story: whether women feel safe in the city’s poorest neighborhoods the city’s image!
Will the fact that poor women are being preyed on and murdered/imprisoned/raped by calculating lunatics hurt tourism? Channel 5 investigates!
Wow.
My friend Christine had this to say about the story:
Night or day… it doesn’t matter. In the late ’90s/early 2000s I used to wait for the bus in the same area that Ariel Castro was …

Crime, Race Relations, Urban Poverty »

[26 Feb 2013 | No Comment | ]

Late last year, at the culmination of a long high-speed chase, 13 Cleveland police fired 137 rounds into a car in East Cleveland killing two unarmed people.
State and local authorities are currently investigating the case: why the chase — which violates official department policies — occurred; why police thought the fleeing couple was armed.
The case has raised charges of brutality and discrimination within the police department. None of the 13 shooters was black, but the victims were.
Anyway, one of the more upsetting elements of this case is that the shooting …

Crime, Economic Development, Featured, The Big Urban Photography Project, The Media, Urban Poverty »

[11 Feb 2013 | No Comment | ]
Burned: A Photo Essay on Arson in Toledo

Why should we, as a community, care about arson and its impact on the Rust Belt?

Brain Drain, Crime, Featured »

[28 Jan 2013 | No Comment | ]
Returning to a More Hopeful Buffalo

After nearly three years in San Francisco, I threw in the towel and came home to Buffalo. I wasn’t proud of my decision to boomerang back to my parents’ house, but I had quit my job at an unnecessarily stressful and ineffective nonprofit to return to graduate school and travel, and had the better part of a year before school would start. Staying in my studio apartment was out of the question. Even if I were to start freelancing right away, it was costing me $1,400 a month, and I just couldn’t afford it.

Then there was the added fact that despite really liking the new friends I’d made, the many beautiful sights of San Francisco, and the cache of being in one of the coolest cities in the country, I was claustrophobic. City living just wasn’t working for me, and I longed for my parents’ forty acres north of Buffalo. Of course, I knew I was romanticizing the place, but that didn’t change the fact that I just wasn’t happy where I was.

Crime, Featured, Politics »

[12 Jul 2012 | No Comment | ]
Rochester, Crime and the “Single Diaper Theory”

ROCHESTER, NY- Like much of the Rust Belt, Rochester, NY has seen it’s share of warm temperatures this summer, and with it, a near doubling in the number of gun assaults, to an appalling 95 shootings so far this year. Always eager to try old, failed ideas from other cities, Rochester has taken a page from Rudy Giuliani’s Broken Window Theory playbook and chosen to target petty crimes with a new idea some are calling the Single Diaper Theory.

Rochester has around 350 corner stores, and according to the local paper’s math, police respond an average of 21 times a year to each of these corner stores, with the worst 25 averaging 80 responses a year.

Crime, Good Ideas, Race Relations, The Media, Urban Poverty »

[16 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
“The Wire” Tour of Baltimore

I love TV’s The Wire. When I heard about this self-guided, Wire-themed tour of Baltimore, I thought, “That’s the self-guided tour of Baltimore I’ve been waiting for.” But I read something a few days later that paralyzed my ambitions. Christian Lander, author of the blog and book “Stuff White People Like,” explained in an interview:

When and how did you get the idea for the site?

January 18th. A friend and I were having an IM conversation about The Wire. He said, “Not enough white people watch The Wire.” I said, “Don’t worry, they do.” We started talking about what they’re doing instead of watching The Wire : therapy, getting divorced, going to plays…

Crime, Headline »

[21 Mar 2011 | 9 Comments | ]
Cleveland Plain Dealer takes a Myopic look at the Imperial Avenue Victims

For weeks now, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has been running biographies of the 11 women who were found murdered just over a year ago by serial killer Anthony Sowell in a house of the east side of Cleveland.

This week, they profiled Amelda “Amy” Hunter, a “bookworm” from Chicago, that eventually got mixed up with men and drugs. All of the stories, more or less, follow the same pattern: A young woman, loved by her family, full of promise, falls prey to older men, crack and a life on the streets, and her life meets its tragic ending at the hands of a sociopath.

It’s all, of course, terribly sad.

A friend of mine pointed out, in all these stories, in all their coverage, sympathetic as it may be, the Plain Dealer never raises the bigger issue.

Architecture, Art, Crime, Featured, Race Relations, Real Estate, The Media, Urban Planning »

[16 Feb 2011 | 2 Comments | ]
Tackling The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

Editor’s note: Our faithful readers will note we recently featured a short post with a trailer and some information about a new documentary, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, which deals with an infamous public housing complex in St. Louis, built in the 1950s and torn down in 1972.

The film’s director, Chad Freidrichs, recently spoke with Rust Wire about this myth and the film it inspired.
Watch the trailer for the movie here. Check out its Flickr page, with great historical photos here. Read more about the complex and its history here.
And …