Monday, April 20, 2009

Prairie-ization

"Its hiding place is Calvary Cemetery, a 477-acre graveyeard to the north of the city...[I]t is the only known piece of prairie within the Interstate loop that circles the St. Louis metro region."

"Prairie in the city," The Economist, April 11, 2009

Of course this prairie treasure complements the ruralization of many U.S. small and large cities, like East St. Louis and St. Louis that have dramatically lost population and housing stock. Neighborhoods take on a rural feel, blocks of grassy emptiness, groves of weed trees, and rural lanes (formerly alleys). Foreclosure and economic recession will further ruralize cities like Detroit and others dependent upon auto. The rowhome neighborhoods of Baltimore and Philadelphia don't show the effects of ruralization quite so much because rowhomes stick together -- a feel of mass abandonment rather than ruralization.

(Parenthetically, according to A.C. Grayling in Among The Dead Cities, "pastoralization" schemes were floated by high government officials to justify the civilian bombing of German cities like Dresden during WW2 and the transformation of Nazi Germany into benign agricultural districts.)

What do we do with ruralized cities and abundant vacant land? How about urban agriculture?

"Preliminary plans for a new large scale urban farm within the Detroit city limits are calling for using vacant land and abandoned property to create the world's largest urban farm..."

Dallas Kachan, "Detroit Financier Eyes World's Largest Urban Farm," CleanTech Group News, April 3, 2009

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