No, we are not making this up. In the words of the Detroit Free Press article by John Gallagher, entitled Urban Villages in Detroit’s Future?, Freep.com, May 22, 2009,
“In a new vision of Detroit’s future, a team of visiting urban planners suggests that the city may one day resemble the English countryside with distinct urban villages surrounded by farms, fields and meadows.”
One of the planners behind this caper is quoted as saying “In a way, think of it as a 21st-Century version of a traditional country pattern. You have high-density development on one side of the street and cows on the other, quite literally.” We rise above the temptation to comment on this vision, except to inquire whether the planner in question would be willing to live across the street from those moo-cows, especially downwind. Whoo boy!
On the other hand, as the article points out, Detroit is already on its way to becoming vacant space as it is. Its population is down 50% from the peak of the 1950s, and 40 square miles of its 139 square mile area are already empty.
Perhaps Detroiters will prove to be better at farming than they have been at car making. Perhaps. So if they want to try this thing, by all means, let them — just as long as they don’t divert more gazillions of dollars from the sorely beset federal treasury in pursuit of this oddball vision. And just as long as they leave the makers of Kowalski’s Sausage alone.