Archive for March, 2009

I’m smiling. The NY Times reported that the Obama’s will be planting an organic vegetable garden at the White House, complete with an educational program with local elementary students to help harvest the produce.

For urban dwellers who have no backyards, the country’s one million community gardens can also play an important role, Mrs. Obama said.

When the Obamas made made the call for people to get more involved with volunteering and service projects in their communities, I witnessed thousands turning out on MLK Day in DC.  Imagine the new surge of urban residents participating in community gardens, urban farms, CSAs and other local food programs!

White House Veg Garden

Detroit’s abandoned Chin Tiki restaurant has been razed.  This New York Times article alludes to rumors about a new hockey arena planned by the Ilitches. Yikes. The last thing that area needs is another big development. The Cass Corridor, once home to Detroit Chinatown, is a portal to downtown Detroit and imposing a large sports stadium will further hurt the already-damage the urban fabric of the neighborhood.  There’s no doubt that Chin Tiki participated in the exoticism of Asian cultures yet there seems to be a loss of historical significance  and cultural memory resulting from its absence.

…the loss of Chin Tiki is an example of bad city planning…with the right people behind it, Chin Tiki could have been a downtown success story, like the once-mothballed Cliff Bell’s, the deco-style jazz club nearby that reopened recently.

More urgently, Detroit should steer away from relying on big box entertainment venues placed in the heart of the city, where a tangle of freeways already intersect once-intact neighborhoods. What Detroit needs is to find a new direction for the economy, one that could foster small local businesses, less auto-dependent infrastructure, and even promote urban agriculture/community gardens.