I never imagined that. But look at most of the plans being floated around to rightsize Detroit - inevitably, at some point, it involves demolishing a bunch of poor neighborhoods and turning them into urban farms under the guise of consolidation. But my question is: where do all those poor people go? They'll quickly be priced out of the remaining "good"/gentrified neighborhoods outside the city core, and we know that core is already getting pricey.I can't say for sure, but perhaps this is why we aren't seeing eye to eye. Detroit will never be a giant urban farm. There's no way we will ever have 140 square miles of urban farmland. And that's not the purpose of this project.
So basically, the poor will be evicted from the city, which I believe is the ultimate intent of rightsizing. I resent MSU's efforts because from my vantage it just looks like another PR move by urban planners. They want to make a case for larger farms in Detroit, and what better way to do it than to convince a large university to spend $100 million on a farm in the city? It's just too perfect, and coincidentally it arrives right on the heels of the consent agreement.
I want solutions to Detroit's problems that fix poverty, not chase it out of town. The argument "well, it's better than nothing" shouldn't be an excuse for people with money to do whatever they want. I'm sure City Council feels the same way. MSU's plans, as they stand now, don't really benefit the people living in Detroit right now - it will exist as a sort of isolated community separate from the rest of Detroit. And also, this idea that MSU's research center could reinvent farming and the middle class as we know it is pure speculation, and the more likely reality is that the gains from MSU's research will be much more modest.