Two national figures widely considered experts on urban issues have weighed in on a local taskforce's recommendation to spend $850 million to demolish blighted structures in the city of Detroit. Stephanie Meeks, president and chief executive of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
, and Andres Duany, an architect and founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism
, both wrote short letters to the editor of the New York Times suggesting that Detroit think beyond demolition when addressing its blight problem.
Meeks suggests that preservation ought to play an important role in Detroit's attempt to reinvent itself.
"Preservationists understand that demolition must be part of the strategy for Detroit's future," she says, "but we need to ensure that the city's most important historic buildings are spared so they can become building blocks for the future."
Duany sees more value in funding young entrepreneurs than he does in spending $850 million on demolition.
"At $50,000 each there would be 17,000 loans or grants possible. Detroit would explode with activity and success. Its emerging reputation as the 'next Broolyn' would be fullfilled, even more quickly," he says.
Read both op-eds in the New York Times