Friday, March 26, 2010

Detroit is NOT Dead But Alive and Ready for the International Experience

There is an article I read this morning entitled, "Health Care and Detroit: Killed by Government." It was written by Gary North. He discusses how Detroit is in the river basically and how the city has no hope.

You can read it here.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north828.html

I love the critics who bashes Detroit even though they are buying land and pieces of property to invest in so when the market goes back up they can receive a return on investment on their properties. Normally, these same people who talk about how Detroit is dead and how government controls Detroit are the same ones talking to government about how they can invest on Woodward Ave. I have a name for those people.

Hypocrites.

I am so sorry, I know this city has severe problems that drive me crazy but I will tell you Detroit is NOT DEAD. However, we need a change of thinking in our mentality to make it a 21st century city.


We know that it is no secret that Detroit’s infrastructure, along with those of many other Midwestern cities, is aging and failing, and that funding has been insufficient to repair and replace it. Urban engineers of the 21st century face the formidable challenge of modernizing the fundamental structures that support our community.

Last night I went to the State of the City address listening to Mayor Bing discuss how Detroit will need to reinvent itself. This is true. However, Detroit must move away from just being the automotive capital of the world but becoming a financial market to compete globally. Our city needs to become similar to what the Asian Economic Tigers are in SE Asia. If Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is booming after the Vietnam War ended over 30 years ago how come Detroit cannot rise to the top?

Detroit needs a silver rights approach to development. In fact, our leadership must operate on a silver rights platform if we are going to get anything done. However, it is important to showcase our vision for the poor, the under-served, and the wealthless of our city to show them that all hope is not lost. We simply have to help them see themselves differently. We can do this by helping to expose, to educate, to empower, and ultimately to inspire them to grow and develop into stakeholders.

Detroit, like other urban cores in America, is going through changes. However, urban conservatives support the need for public-private partnerships during this economic transformation in our city and other urban communities across Michigan.

Public-private partnerships have increasingly become an option for governments here, particularly in the transportation and transit infrastructure arena.

This is how it works.

Under a public-private partnerships, a government entity transfers some aspect or aspects of a responsibility traditionally performed by the public sector to a private-sector partner under a well-defined, long-term contract. Some such transactions involve an up-front payment from the private-sector partner to the public-sector entity. In return, the private-sector partner receives rights to a future revenue stream—such as monies from toll collection—over a defined time frame. Other Public-private partnerships structures involve a private-sector pledge to provide a service, such as operating and maintaining a free road or a subset of bus lines, in return for a regular payment from the government entity. In general, the government retains ownership of any physical infrastructure asset.

Detroit is starting to move in that direction. A prime example is the light rail project that will be built between the New Center Area and Downtown Detroit.

You can see a demo of that right here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO2-IKM9Jpo

Urban conservatives support the notion of a public-private partnership because in a silver rights framework we believe that the ultimate answer to eradicating poverty, right here in America, lies in an active, proactive and coordinated partnership, by and between the private sector, government and the technology and the community at-large.

The Detroit Public School system is going through a massive realignment and are leaning towards other organizations such as Excellence Schools in Detroit and the Skillman Foundation to create partnerships to close failing schools and schools with little or no population and recreating new schools that will be more theme based. Mayor Bing announced last night the creation of a public health and public safety academies here in Detroit. Both academies are critical to the development of our city.

The need for a public health and public safety academy will help encourage young people to go into medical entrepreneurship and develop private firms in security that can contract globally.

Educational entrepreneurship are growing also. Urban conservatives view educational institutions as a means to develop new economic infrastructure in desolate areas such as the North End in Detroit. Charter schools fit well into this category.

Some look at public-private partnerships as "authorities." For example, the Detroit Land Bank Authority, Cobo, etc. We should not frown upon those entities. Instead, we should bring our ideas and strategies to the table. Let's put down those who keep promoting fear of "takeovers" in our community and participate in the solution for a better region.

Its important to engage our young people in the fields of urban and regional planning to help them understand that they too have a say in develop and redesigning their own communities.

However, there are some other points urban conservatives would like to share about rebuilding Detroit.

For example, Detroit must stop operating on an island and join the rest of the region. We must support regional projects such as the Aerotropoils.This way our region can plan to make up the difference not just with imports and exports but by investing in infrastructure and promoting inclusiveness through spending in areas like health, education and urban development. Energy will be an integral part of the infrastructure development mix.

The Aerotropolis is important for our region because our global GDP has risen 154%, and the value of world trade has grown 355%. But the value of air cargo has climbed an astonishing 1,395%. Today, 40% of the total economic value of all goods produced in the world, barely comprising 1% of the total weight, is shipped by air (and that goes for more than 50% of total U.S. exports, which are valued at $554 billion).

Who would not want to participate in this project? The FAA predicts annual passenger traffic will increase by about 60 percent to about 1 billion by 2015. If you listen to grassroots people about this project, the same grassroots people who barely travel to begin with, you will never learn the real benefits of the Aerotropolis.

Detroit needs to make the same kind of progress in manufacturing that it has in services, notably in information technology. Silver Rights leaders must be determined to transform the city into one of the world’s most important manufacturing hubs. Some 50,000 jobs must be created to meet the employment needs of new workers who will be entering the job market and to meet the goals of social inclusion set by the public-private partnerships. Education and worker training programs will be needed to address the projected 40% shortfall of skilled manpower by 2025.

A new medical revolution is needed to boost Detroit's medical and bio-technology entrepreneurship in a sustainable way. The health industry is rethinking, redesigning and rebuilding itself through the broader involvement of multistakeholders, and is exploring issues of gleaning more information from available health data. The industry is also identifying innovative delivery models of care from emerging economies that could be scaled up in the developed world. Finally, the industry called on each participant to “be the change they want to see” in fighting chronic diseases – the biggest public health threat society has ever faced.

And we cannot forget about agriculture technology. For critics who dismiss urban agriculture they are thinking with tunnel vision. One billion people on the planet Earth are linked to agriculture and 800 million of them do not have enough to eat; 30-40% of food production is lost before it gets to the consumer; investments in agriculture are four times more effective in reducing poverty than investments in any other sector. We can not only promote healthy living but also open our own Whole Foods store or Randazzos right here in the City of Detroit. Let's also partner with the MSU Extension and build an Experiment Station right here in SE Michigan in Northwest Detroit near Rouge Park.

Outside of agriculture technology is creating groundbreaking ideas for water technology. Detroit has the largest body of freshwater anywhere in the United States. Water is a viable tool of resources. I still do not understand why we have not sat at the table and begin to bottle our own water for revenue.

However, redesigning areas in the city of Detroit into research and technology parks will help sustain development. Studying the uses of water is critical because the water crisis is already with us globally. For example, in Mongolia, one-quarter of rivers are already dry and sandstorms are increasing. Without good management, population growth, climate change, urbanization, change in diet and economic development will make the crisis both worse and more global in its impacts.

The water challenge is deeply embedded in current economic and trade structures that encourage water waste or trade in “virtual water” from relatively water-scarce countries to water-rich ones. The water challenge is also closely linked to the challenge of supplying clean and efficient energy. Large-scale desalinization processes would require extraordinary use of electricity and might contribute to carbon emissions and, therefore, climate change if that electricity were generated from coal, gas or oil. Meanwhile, achieving the goal of 10-20% of renewables in the energy mix could add to pressure on water if the processes that generate the energy – such as biofuels – require large water inputs.

Public understanding remains limited. The volume of water consumed on a per capita basis is generally underestimated, particularly in the developed world. Personal hygiene and drinking account for only 7% of water consumption – a much higher proportion is embedded in what we eat. Raising awareness is key to achieving support for measures such as water pricing. Most governments do not have a coherent water policy, with responsibilities split between different levels and departments. Yet, water is central to development; it should be at the core of planning.

How come Detroit cannot be a leader in designing cleaner and better water systems for areas in the world that need better water quality?

Architecture is an economic engine that we must tap into. Architecture must change in response to issues within the global environment. To date, architecture has only tackled these problems through technical solutions, but revolutionary architect Toyo Ito believes that the 20th century mechanical interpretation of architecture must be challenged.

Too many architects neglect the flow of people, air and water surrounding their structures. Japanese architect Toyo Ito models much of his architecture on the idea of the whirlpool – when an object is placed in a flow, a whirlpool forms behind it. As the flow changes, the whirlpool itself changes.

Detroit could lead the region in architecture firms and PK-20 schools that will help redevelop and reshape our city and urban areas. We already have schools like Wayne State University (the only urban research university in the State of Michigan), U-D Mercy and Lawrence Tech University to partner with to make this a reality. Also, let's not forget about our community colleges such as Wayne County Community College and Henry Ford Community College.

And how can we forget the need for cultural arts in our city? We have intellectual and talent in our city that we must begin to harness to develop a cultural creativity that will empower our community. Brightmoor, Warrendale and Core City neighborhoods are prime targets to help bring culture and life to the City of Detroit.

Engaging in social entrepreneurship will be the next step in recreating Detroit. The rise of microfinance has provided considerable start-up financing to small-scale entrepreneurs. However, a huge gap remains between microfinance and private equity scale ventures. Creating vibrant economies in the our city will require greater attention to this type of business, which currently lacks support. Brainstorming focused on finding mentors for leaders of small businesses and strengthening ties to prominent investors who might contribute to smaller funds.

There is no way Detroit or ANY urban community in Michigan can become a REAL world city without sustainable urban infrastructure. As populations are shifting from rural or urban areas in the world Michigan is no different. We must begin to get on board with a silver rights approach to developing our community that we can take to other urban communities in Michigan.

I am sorry but Mr. Gray is DEAD WRONG when he says Detroit is Dead. Maybe his fear tactics and rhetoric is dead. We are passed the welfare state of mind and now are moving into the silver rights frame of mind where we are engaged in education, family and wealth. Let's put aside our personal ideologies and come to the table like men and women and demonstrate to our children that we too can act civilized when billions of dollars is on the table for infrastructure. Instead of battling over strip clubs let's battle over land use, water, health care, education and public safety.

For those who are running for office this year I hope you will have a serious vision for change like us as urban conservatives. You cannot call yourself a Michigan Legislative Black caucus and only focus on Detroit. Let's launch several educational-economic models in Detroit and take those models to areas such as Benton Harbor and Saginaw.

Now I know if Cleveland, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh can come back from certain doom so can Detroit. If Dayton, Ohio is being developed into a Silicon Valley of the Midwest Detroit can do better. Its up to those silver rights activists to invest, accumulate and design a better model for the city.

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