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Demolish or Restore? How should Detroit handle blight?

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Blight is one of the biggest challenges facing Detroit.

Should we tear down and start fresh? Or selectively look at the properties and see what can be preserved?

According to a report from the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force, 78,506 building in the city are decayed or at risk of decaying.

That’s 30% of the cities structures.

It will cost $850 million to demolish the blighted homes and commercial buildings. Clearing industrial sites could cost a billion dollars more.

Alan Brake wrote an editorial in Architects Newspaper that questions whether Detroit’s approach to blight is the best approach.  

In his article he stated, “In its panic to save itself, Detroit runs the risk of demolishing its identity and the foundation of its revival (whatever that may be).”

Brake joined us on Stateside today to discuss his point of view. Brian Farkas, with the city of Detroit's building authority, also joined us.

“Blight elimination doesn’t mean demolition,” Farkas said. “Demolition is one of the tools we have and, quite frankly, it’s the last tool that we want to use.”

*Listen to our full interview with Alan Brake and Brian Farkas above.

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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