Thursday, January 15, 2009

Where in Catabolic Collapse?

Ok, we're back in the same neighborhood that we started in, exactly where all those abandoned, burnt buildings and other pictures of decay that I was focusing on earlier. On the last post, Far questioned, if we're only seeing the start of the catabolic process? I thought, by showing the rather large fields and meadows that replaced where old busy neighborhoods once stood, was portraying perhaps a view of an end to the catabolic process. Now, I'm not so sure, especially in areas such as this one. One thing I did not see in my travels near that part of town along Chene Street, was the new little sections of homes like the one pictured above. I'm not saying there were none there, but that I did not see them...



As I've suggested before, perhaps we'll learn together what might be actually happening here, by viewing these pictures. Is there some kind of plan or intent, being followed? I'm going to strongly suggest there is and once again what resource is left, is being concentrated in areas deemed more viable in the future. I'm seeing little clusters of new homes (so people can keep an eye on the neighbors property?) Certainly, or well lets hope these new homes won't be capped over in another thirty years! Perhaps, the capped over areas are designed to be the garden plots of the future? If this is the case, and the infrastructure (mainly water) can still support these newer homes, might this become a more attractive area in the future?

I thought at first, what a waste of resource! To build something new among ruins!! However, isn't this the same kind of thinking that would "let go" whole neighborhoods (like the one next to Chene Street), to concentrate more effort and resource to the inner city of Detroit? Will these larger areas that are meadows now, better serve the city in the future, by not being occupied with new homes? See the connection here, only on a smaller scale? Perhaps, these ruins that surround the new cluster of homes will be "permitted" to fall and be capped over to better serve them in the future?


If this is the case, perhaps, in the not so distant future there will be little clusters of homes, surrounded by much more land of gardens and woods? That is, there will likely be no need to have rows of houses, block after block, if there isn't the population there to demand it. Perhaps, in this new arrangement these new homes will become more self sufficient? I would tend to think so, it's a lot easier supporting a family on a large plot of land than from a yard that was the size of a postage stamp, as was in the past...
So in view of this, I think, that catabolic collapse is an on going process, that certain neighborhoods are in different stages. Some in serious decline, some on the up bound partial recovery, and in the whole reflecting an "overlapping". A city that will see partial recovery, more deeper decline, on and on, in our foreseeable future.

6 comments:

FARfetched said...

I dunno if it's the start, but I don't think it's the end. Maybe the middle?

When an area depopulates, there almost has to be a certain re-focusing of resources into a "more viable" center. Those neighborhoods have collapsed, no doubt, but there's more to consider — people have moved to the 'burbs, or back to Alabama. The 'burbs, as we're well aware, will look like those inner 'hoods in a decade or two… but will the 'hoods still have that urban prairie look? As transportation becomes much more self-propelled, would some of those places see new (higher-density) homes interspersed with community gardens or outright farms?

When salvaging the remnants of the abundant age gets under way, I think that will at least be the beginning of the end of one cycle of collapse. Depending on the rest of the world, more may follow.

Nudge said...

FAR, although the results can resemble a successful Sims game, I think you are right about the patterns of habitation that may emerge later.

On a personal level, what I find especially appealing about Detroit right now is that the law there is apparently looking the other way as whole empty blocks are cleared and re-used as community gardens or even whole suburban farms.

I have been renting and supporting myself since around 19yo. Am well into my 40s now. Thanks to really impossible home prices and a couple big price bubbles that coincided with my own lack of prosperity (let's not talk about that!) it's never been even remotely within my reach to have a small home of my own, let alone anything large enough to support a kind of garden.

So for those of us who have really, really, really been drooling for decades at the thought of a little place to do some gardening, Detroit has a sort of appeal to it. Where else in the country, so close to an urban area with some semblance of business activity happening, could someone otherwise find land & houses at affordable prices?

(Minus the gangland warfare of course, the Lexan windows, and the need to wear a .45 sidearm when going outdoors.)

yooper said...

Hey Far! Yup, I agree, all of it. It think it safe to assume at this point anyway, that indeed collapse is underway and if it takes 200 years or so for a civilization to collapse, perhaps we have a ways to go?

Been thinking about the "doughnut hole" effect which has been happing to many cities. Some parts of inner city of has made (whoa! almost said "progress"!), great strides in recovery, (there thats more like it).

"The 'burbs, as we're well aware, will look like those inner 'hoods in a decade or two… but will the 'hoods still have that urban prairie look? As transportation becomes much more self-propelled, would some of those places see new (higher-density) homes interspersed with community gardens or outright farms?"

That's what I think too, Far. Perhaps, it's safe to assume much of this process is by design and not something that just happened? Correct? I do think this process is well under way. There are some really nice apartment/condo complexs in the shadow of the RenCen, very close to the River Front. I really wanted to move there badly, when I was working the downtown area, to save on the one hr commute one way to the burbs. Heh! My co-workers just giggled at such thoughts. I found out why, they were prohibitive expensive...

Nudge, I agree,

"So for those of us who have really, really, really been drooling for decades at the thought of a little place to do some gardening, Detroit has a sort of appeal to it. Where else in the country, so close to an urban area with some semblance of business activity happening, could someone otherwise find land & houses at affordable prices?"

Gee! I forgot to post a link at the end of the story! I'll do it now, one from Michael, thanks Nudge!


Hmmm, I'm quite confident we'll figure more out, as we go...

Nudge said...

Yooper, don't laugh please but while looking at houses in the area here I recently came to the conclusion that I would rather rent here than buy in most other places, at least while the current conditions prevail. I was rather touched by how, 120 years back, this little town of less than 1,500 people had more than 250 productive farms and a number of water-powered mills making all kinds of things. I was pretty shocked to learn that some 80,000 gallons of milk were produced here annually, most of which went to feed the great bottomless market in Boston. I like to think of these little New England former mill towns as having a lot of what fits that elusive definition of “sustainability”.

All we need next is to find a company that will take disused SUVs in trade (shipped to them by rail, of course, after being suitably flattened or crushed) and return nice steel rail to us. Yeah, the railbed joggers & bicyclists will be pissed, but at least by then there won't be much driving anymore, and they'll have the surface roads mostly to themselves. Of course, once the asphalt disintegrates past a certain point, bicycling will be a rough ride indeed.

But still, the prospect of being able to have part of a city block to live on and do gardening, etc, is quite an appealing part of Detroit ~ even given that I'd want to live with a bunch of other adults (for safety & stability) as well as keep a big Rottweiler around and possibly wear a gun when going outdoors.

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