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Changing cities - July 10

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Is that a forest downtown?

Will Doig, Salon

Image credit: Salon/Ben Wheelock
Since 1979, Eddee Daniel has been hiking Milwaukee’s Cambridge Woods, part of an 800-acre swath of wilderness now called the Milwaukee River Greenway. Back then, the forest, which cuts straight through Wisconsin’s most crowded ZIP code, was largely shunned by the public. “There were vandals and drug dealers,” says Daniel. “It’s changed in a big way, and mostly in a healthy way.”

Today, on any given summer weekend, the Greenway teems with hikers, canoers and mountain bikers. But it’s still more wilderness than anything, with few of the accouterments of an organized park. In it, you can see one of modern urbanism’s most unexpected traits unfolding: a renewed appreciation for wild space in cities — not just “green space,” but actual swamps, forests, wetlands and streams...
(7 July 2012)




The world’s largest urban farm, or not?

Rachel James, Smart Planet
Whether a manifest dream, a land grab, or a prophetic act, when John Hantz saw swaths of vacant land in inner-city Detroit he thought big. Really big.

The controversy has been rocking Detroit ever since. Land sale needs formal approval from the city council and mayor - and urban farming policy needs a thorough re-articulation in general.

Matthew Dolan of The Wall Street Journal writes, “This summer, a city commission plans public hearings on a zoning ordinance that would permit for-profit farming. That process will force Detroiters to confront awkward questions about their city’s development prospects. Among them: Is the abundance of vacant land an asset or a liability?”...

But there are reasons long-time urban farming advocates question Mr. Hantz’s motivation.

“Hantz Farms officials acknowledge their self-funded venture would create few new jobs in the short term, and only modest revenue for Detroit,” writes Dolan...
(8 July 2012)



Big Step for Big City Farming

Colleen Kimmett, The Tyee
Nearly 3,000 rectangular planter boxes, which stand out in varying shades of green and brown against a concrete parking lot, make for an impressive sight when viewed from high above on the Georgia Street viaduct.

Situated on Pacific Boulevard between the busy overpass, BC Place Stadium, and the bustling seawall at False Creek, SOLEfood Urban Farm's newest (and, at two acres, its largest) site is a highly-visible sign that urban agriculture has arrived in Vancouver.

Down below, SOLEfood co-founder Michael Ableman walks between the rows pointing out the crops: bok choy, eight types of kale and a new variety of strawberries bred in France that they're trying out.

"Most of what people refer to as urban agriculture is a step up from community gardens," says Ableman. "This is not a token thing. This is a real amount of food."...
(9 July 2012)


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