There is an old saying on Wall Street that says, "Don't fight the tape." The meaning of the phrase is, ride the trend and wait for things to either hit a peak, or bottom out, then make your move to either buy or sell. The city is disappearing; brick by brick, floor joist by floor joist. The current economic storm sweeping the nation made an early landfall in Detroit several years ago. It has hastened the trend. Perhaps that is a good thing. The quicker we hit bottom, the sooner we can begin the serious re- building of the city.
This old neighborhood in Highland Park (a city within the city limits of Detroit) was originally settled as a small farming community. This block, while extreme, is indicative of what is happening to the city. More and more spaces are opening up. While the idea of big commercial farming within the city borders is fanciful, many urban planners have speculated that Detroit has a great opportunity to become a green city by promoting community gardens and small urban farms on the huge inventory of vacant land. John Gallagher in the Detroit Free Press wrote an article recently that pushed to have this idea on the agenda in the next mayoral election. The opportunity is temendous. Executed properly it will open up small business opportunities and clean up the city. Within a generation Detroit can go from a cautionary tale to a model for re- imaging urban life.
To get a better sense of the scale of open spaces go to Google maps and search Trumbull & Auburndale, Highland Park, MI. Click on the satellite image. That will take you right over this block.