Friday, April 3, 2009

Is Detroit Going Green?

Businessman John Hantz has pitched an idea that just might revolutionize the look, and the outlook, of the downtrodden city of Detroit's urban areas.

Hantz wants to beautify the city of Detroit by planting fruits and vegetables on the city's many vacant lots according to the Detroit Free Press while also adding on things like windmills for energy production and maybe even cider mills and nature centers.

Detroit has an estimated 40 square miles of vacant and abandoned property within city limits out of a grand total of 139 square miles according to the Detroit Free Press as well.

This sounds like an incredible idea and a plan that should be taken very seriously by Detroit's city council. But knowing the history of that group, they'll find some way to mess this up.

Hopefully not for the sake of the city and its people. This plan has the potential to benefit the people of Detroit on so many levels.

First of all is the glaring lack of quality food and produce in the city. Eastern Market is popular but it's also packed with out-of-towners most of the time. The city needs more good produce and healthy food as is the case with most inner cities as Detroit is littered with fast food restaurants but has virtually no grocery stores.

Additionally, just the ability to actually see some semblance of nature in the midst of the burned-out houses that dot the Detroit landscape as well as the garbage and abandoned buildings, etc., could make a big difference in many kids' lives.

The wind turbines may not necessarily generate a ton of energy but they could be a nice symbolic boost to the psyche of Detroiters as well to make them feel like part of the solution to a major problem and like part of a progressive, positive movement of sorts. Michigan has taken a great deal of steps to become one of the leading alternative energy players and this strategy seems to fit in well with Governor Jennifer Granholm's long-term plans to re-imagine the Michigan economy and diversify it into something sustainable for the future.

All Detroiters and Michiganders should be on board with this idea because it sure beats letting the properties rot and decay even further. We can only hope that it works out and other cities follow suit.