In the Loop

In the Loop: August 26, 2008 Archive

The one dollar house and the city of farms.

Posted at 2:58 PM on August 26, 2008 by Sanden Totten

It can either be a sign of very good or very bad economic times when a person can buy a house on a whim and still not break the bank. A home in Detroit sold for $1.00 earlier this month. I'm sure you can guess what that sign says about the economy.

It's a two story house with mint green toothpaste colored shingles and a decent sized lot. Apparently it wasn't that bad until folks found out it was empty. Once that information leaked, the copper vultures swooped in. According to Ron French of the Detroit News:

". . . Like a gazelle limping in the Serengeti -- they will take it down. You will see people pushing a wheelbarrow down the street, full of siding or copper. They take everything."

One of the strange side effects of Detroit's slow decay is that areas of the city have actually been reverting back to prairie. Native flowers and plants are taking over whole neighborhoods. The photos make the city seem almost pastoral.

And all the vacant land has got some "Rock City" residents going back to their Midwestern roots as well. Folks are buying up empty lots and starting full fledged farms in the middle of the city. And the funny thing is, Detroit has better soil than most of Northeast Michigan for growing fruits and veggies.

It's hard to look at Detroit and not envision some sort of Road Warrior-esque post-apocalyptic scene . . . but you could also look at it and imagine what the green cities of the future may look like. Mad Max meets Old MacDonald if you will. Either way, it's a city worth keeping an eye on.

Next up State Fair Smell-o-vision!

Posted at 5:52 PM on August 26, 2008 by Sanden Totten (2 Comments)

For those of you who couldn't be there, let me set the scene.

It's a bright and cool Saturday Morning. Butterflys are dancing on the breeze. The breeze of course is a cloud of grease smoke coming from the Blooming Onion stand. We're at the Minnesota State Fair for the latest Story Slam. Tale tellers are lining up to entertain the crowd with their take on the days theme: Taking Sides.

If your head could swivel around all 360 degrees, the scene might look something like this (click in the screen and drag your cursor to the right or left):

Thanks to PIJ web-producer Preston Wright for this extreme panoramic photo. Looking at this photo while listening to the Story Slam is almost like being there . . . without the Blooming Onion smells of course.

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