Saturday, March 27, 2010

Whatever happened to the concept of homesteading in reality?

Debbie Besanson shared a concern in her comment to the post a couple below this one regarding keeping young people in Saginaw. The standing-but-delapidated buildings in Saginaw and keeping the young here are indirectly linked. But they are linked. I read an article in a Detroit publication recently that profiled a young couple who were using the incredibly low home prices in their Detroit neighborhood (All below $1,000) to attract other artists into their district to build an enclave of working artists. Together they have also taken over the working of an empty house and lot to make a working experiment in urban gardening and studio space.

If we want young people - artistic or not - to stay here there must be an incentive to do so in spite of the current economy.

The city has possession of a powerful bargaining chip to boost young population here in the form of buildings it sees as expendable.

In all of the articles and interviews on urban blight I have heard and read in Saginaw, I have yet to hear one that seriously explored solutions that made an attempt to actively attract residents. Efforts so far seem geared toward not scaring away possible residents; what seems to be consistantly missed is that current young residents must be retained in order to see real population growth in the city.

I am not in the market for a house, but I would be terribly keen on seeing (and helping promote) some kind of homesteading program in certain neighborhoods of inner-city Saginaw that helped attract young couples and artists into putting sweat equity into properties that are currently borderline to being uninhabitable and that are currently not marketable.

It would cost the city less to place a building/home in the hands of an interested party for a very nominal sum of money and see a new resident move there or an existing resident not leave Saginaw than it would to tear said building/home down. Would the now inhabited structure not bring tax revenue to the city over time as it is improved? Just a thought.


Naseem said...

Homesteading or gentrification?

Shadow of the Cathedral said...

Lol...good thought...I think depending on the block and how much tenative city farming goes on, either word could apply.