Urban farming in places like Detroit (and elsewhere) has gotten a lot of good press, this blog included.
But the author of this piece, Richard Longworth says we shouldn’t necessarily be praising urban farming, but instead seeing it as a symptom of how far some cities have fallen. (We’ve written about Longworth, and his work at the Chicago Council’s Global Midwest Initiative before.) His suggestion? Better grocery options for central-city neighborhoods, including big box retailers like Wal-Mart.
Reading Longworth’s post reminded me of a speech I heard at last year’s GLUE (Great Lakes Urban Exchange) conference in Cleveland. The speaker, from the Genesee County (Flint) Landbank, said some in the urban planning community mistakenly might assume inner city residents are always enthusiastic about having an urban farm in their neighborhood. This isn’t necessarily true though, she pointed out. Some residents who migrated to Flint (or Detroit or Cleveland or wherever) came from a background of being rural sharecroppers in the South. A sizeable number of folks in the Flint community she dealt with were not enthused about farming in their neighborhoods, they wanted where they lived to feel like a city.
What do you think?
Today, the Great Lakes Cities: Urban Laboratories conference kicks off in Cleveland. The program promises a mix of policy discussions, neighborhood tours of Cleveland and lots more.
Read what Bruce Fisher has to say about it in his column in Buffalo’s ArtVoice. He’s very enthused about “the hopeful, the engaged and the talented” who will convene in Cleveland. And he gives Rust Wire a shout out!
The Great Lakes Urban Exchange is hosing its third annual conference in Cleveland this year.
The group, which aims to share ideas and best practices for revitalizing Great Lakes cities, has a survey about how how the conference can best be used for “ACTION, rather than agendas.”
The group is “issuing this preemptive survey to help us plan conference activities that will be immediately actionable, useful, and effective in answering the needs of the ‘do-ers’ who are making Cleveland a healthier, more sustainable, more equitable and successful city.”
Find out more and take the survey here.
Our friends at Great Lakes Urban Echange (GLUE) alerted me to this event: a film screening Tuesday, (Nov. 24) at 7:30 pm at the Drexel Theater, located at 2254 E. Main Street, in Bexley, Ohio.
The film is The New Metropolis, about America’s first suburbs and the problems they face. For a more detailed explaination of the film, click the link to the movie’s web site (above), or read a more detailed explanation from Cincinnati CityBeat.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion. The screening is being hosted by Greater Ohio.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Global Midwest Initiative have launched an new blog to talk about the future of our region.
These folks should be familiar to you if you heard Richard Longworth speak at the Great Lakes Urban Exchange conference earlier this year or have read his book Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism.
Welcome to the conversation!
Our friends at the Great Lakes Urban Exchange (aka GLUE) are bringing their “I Will Stay If…” party idea to Pittsburgh.
“Every party results in photographs of participants holding signs that tell what it is about their city that would make them stick with it. The photos will be data for GLUE to play a part in reviving and setting urban policy,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explained in today’s paper.
This idea may sound familiar – we wrote about the party in Detroit a few months ago (see photo above).
For more information about the party, click here.
The fun is 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Shadow Lounge, 5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty.
Detroiter and Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE) leader Sarah Szurpicki has an interesting blog post this week, highlighting the Dequindre Cut, a walking/ biking path in Detroit.
Sarah interviewed Tom Woiwode, the Director of the GreenWays Initiative of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
She writes, “Tom emphasized that, to him, bike lanes are important–but not in and of themselves, so much as potential triggers to a culture change. The “greenways” are about inspiring “green WAYS” of living. They are also about the development of a community asset that Detroiters can be proud of and can communally use and celebrate; walking the Cut, you’re likely to receive twice as many smiles and “hellos” from strangers than you will on the sidewalk above (unscientific estimate).”
She goes on to explain how she thinks the project can be successful.
“Over time, what I’ll be watching for, with optimism, are answers to questions like: Are new small businesses popping up on the corners with Cut entrance ramps? Is there less car congestion at Eastern Market on Saturday mornings? Have obesity levels in the neighborhoods surrounding the Cut decreased? Will people in those neighborhood start biking to work? Are those neighborhoods seeing populations increase? Do their residents feel prouder of their homes, and more warmly towards their neighborhoods?
I ask those questions because I believe that new greenways, especially those with a commitment to the maintenance that keeps them safe and welcoming, can have economic, health, and community benefits–and hope that the Dequindre Cut serves as a tipping point for those transformations in Detroit.”
Thanks for bringing us this update from Detroit, Sarah. We look forward to hearing more about your progress.