Green Infrastucture and Urban Gardens
There are a number of initiatives nationwide to "go green" in a much more literal sense. Philadelphia's green infrastructure project is just one of many examples.
I think this is an inspirational repurposing of urban landscape that offers numerous benefits. This particular program focuses on the issues of runoff control and sewer management. There is no doubt that Detroit (like all major cities) could benefit from some runoff solutions to help preserve natural water sources (
Lake Erie has seen cleaner days...). With the constant, "water is the next oil" verse repeating in my head I would be amiss not to add that it would be in any cities' interest to pay attention to water supply before the problem progresses.
Creating green spaces also offers
many other opportunities for economic development, sustainable growth, community involvement, and education. Notably, attractive and safe public green spaces create welcome environments for people to gather. They can become venues for events, encourage the arts, and could lead to reinvigorating the local population with simple everyday chance interactions.
Urban gardens provide job opportunities, a new and more sustainable food source, and foster closer relationships between people and their food. A professor from my alma mater has started such an initiative in Cleveland and is working in low income communities to plant and harvest crops in an urban environment.
These green ideas are spreading like wildfire, or rather an invasive plant that you're actually okay with sprouting up in the back yard. There is much to be said about taking advantage of natural resources and revitalizing the city all in one foul swoop.
The cold months in Detroit, however, may require some alterations to the Philadelphia plan--maybe greenhouses for indoor gardens coupled with some Detroit-Pride earmuffs for the masses--but at least it's a starting point.