Shrinking City Planning

Detroit's population is rapidly declining, but the answer to revitalizing the city may lie in part in urban farming.
December 22, 2008, 5am PST | Judy Chang
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"With enough abandoned lots to fill the city of San Francisco, Motown is 138 square miles divided between expanses of decay and emptiness and tracts of still-functioning communities and commercial areas. Six barren acres of an estimated 17,000 have already been turned into 'mini-farms,' demonstrating the lengths to which planners will go to make land productive."

"The city has more than 500 gardens and 'we plan to triple that every year,' said Michael Travis, deputy director of Urban Farming, a Detroit-based nonprofit corporation that helps clear land and provides topsoil and fertilizer.

The farms may also raise home values. In many neighborhoods, nearby gardens could add as much as $5,000 to selling prices, said real estate broker Russ Ravary, who works in the city and surrounding suburbs. The average price of a home dropped 55 percent, to $18,578, in the first nine months of the year, according to the Detroit Board of Realtors."

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Published on Saturday, December 13, 2008 in The Salt Lake Tribune
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