Only 35,000 of Detroit’s 88,000 streetlights actually work, so some owners are buying and installing their own

Deindustrialization and the metaphor of the Machine in the Garden have been the topics of previous posts, as has been the urban planning history of Chicago.

I’ve also discussed the contrast between waterfront development in Mississauga and Toronto:

Anecdotes Shared by Fellow Walkers – May 5, 2014 post by Jaan Pill at Jane’s Walk website

By way of an update regarding such topics, a July 11, 2014 New York Times article is entitled: “The Post-Post-Apocalyptic Detroit.”

An excerpt reads:

  • The largest tenant by far is the Empowerment Plan, a manufacturer of jackets that convert into sleeping bags for the homeless. Veronika Scott started the nonprofit in 2011, when she was a 21-year-old recent graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and she now fills 6,000 orders a year. Gilbert wrote her a check for $250,000 when he visited Ponyride. Seven young African-American women sat at sewing machines, while all around them, black bags with the finished jackets were piled high. Scott acknowledged that she might soon become too large for her space there, but she said the growing number of small companies and light-industrial start-ups in Detroit had created a demand for additional Ponyrides. She planned to go elsewhere in the city, probably to a neighborhood that hadn’t yet seen as much gentrification. Like Cooley, she wants to become an anchor for her own manufacturing cooperative.

[End of excerpt]

“It’s like Jane Jacobs always said, ‘Don’t try to win over your opponents,’” he said. “You have to find your friends first.”

A July 12, 2014 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Big Ideas: How do you fix a city in the 21st century?”

The subhead reads: “Recent urban changes in New York City, Chicago, Bogota and London may hold the secrets to implementing transformative ideas in Toronto.”

The above-noted Jane Jacobs quotation is from the article. Another excerpt reads:

  • The commonly accepted story behind the streets renaissance that took place in New York City in the mid-2000s lays most of the credit at the feet of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his visionary transportation chief, Janette Sadik-Khan.
  • However, according to Charles Montgomery, who examined the changes in New York in his 2013 book Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, this version of events is “mythical” and “just wrong.”
  • To be sure, strong leadership at city hall was essential to reclaiming Times Square for pedestrians, building a network of separated bike lanes and turning underperforming road space around the city into public plazas.
  • But the real heroes, says Montgomery, were the handful of activists who built a broad, grassroots coalition, backed by Internet whiz Mark Gorton and weaponized for maximum reach with a cutting-edge multimedia campaign.

[End of excerpt]

The following articles are of interest also.

Half-finished grand building projects

A July 7, 2014 Atlantic article is entitled: “The Archaeological Park of Sicilian Incompletion.”

The subhead reads: “My surreal trek through unfinished Italy.”

Air pollution in London

A July 10, 2014 Guardian article is entitled: “Does London have the worst NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] pollution on Earth?”

I came across this topic in a July 10, 2014 Metro News article entitled: “Shopping for air quality: Oxford Street air dirtiest on Earth, scientists say.”

The latter article notes that many diesel buses travel along this street, which forms a “canyon” of tall buildings set fairly near the road. The article also notes that London has been switching to diesel to lower CO2 emissions.

Learning from Athens

A May 17, 2013 Theatrum article is entitled: “Learning from Athens.”

Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy

A July/August 2014 Foreign Affairs article is entitled: “New World Order
Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy.”

The article notes:

  • Machines are substituting for more types of human labor than ever before. As they replicate themselves, they are also creating more capital. This means that the real winners of the future will not be the providers of cheap labor or the owners of ordinary capital, both of whom will be increasingly squeezed by automation. Fortune will instead favor a third group: those who can innovate and create new products, services, and business models.
  • The distribution of income for this creative class typically takes the form of a power law, with a small number of winners capturing most of the rewards and a long tail consisting of the rest of the participants. So in the future, ideas will be the real scarce inputs in the world – scarcer than both labor and capital – and the few who provide good ideas will reap huge rewards. Assuring an acceptable standard of living for the rest and building inclusive economies and societies will become increasingly important challenges in the years to come.


A July 17, 2014 Atlantic article is entitled: “What Happens When Detroit Shuts Off the Water of 100,000 People.”

The subhead reads: “Some run dry – and others pay $30 for plumbers to illegally turn the taps back on.”

A March 15, 2016 Brookings Institution article is entitled: “Voter anger explained—in one chart.”


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