In January, a study group announced a long-term plan called the Detroit Future City (DFC) framework in an attempt to save the city from further urban decay that originated ten years ago and culminated in bankruptcy last week.
Over the past 10 years, Detroit has seen 40% of its population reduced to poverty, 33% of its buildings abandoned, and the city substructure in ruins. To combat this, the DFC aims to empower the city of the next 20 years by downsizing the city infrastructure to reduce bloat and to more closely match the city’s 700,000 residents.
5200 hectares of the abandoned city space will be converted into ecological sanctuaries and urban farms. This is in addition to the existing gardening and farming initiatives that have developed over the past few years, thanks to grants and private funding.
A ‘Blue Infrastructure’ has also been proposed in the attempt to convert abandoned streets into rainwater collection tools for irrigation. This would also take the stress off of Detroit’s already overtaxed sewer system. New regulations about energy efficiency are also being bandied around as a panacea to Detroit’s decay.
The initiatives are still in the planning stages, so time will tell if Detroit will have the money and resources to put them into place. Satisfying creditors will most likely take two to three years, according to experts, after which Detroit can start thinking realistically about the future. Currently, the city is paying 40% of its revenue to pay off debts and pensions.
If successful, within 20 years, Detroit will have a city-wide public transport system, retail shops, bicycle lanes, urban gardens, and city farming areas.