Thursday, August 28, 2008

Water...liquid gold

A 1912 vintage postcard of the Flint River near Lapeer.

John Law, who recently purchased a vacation home in Detroit, echoes the sentiments of James Howard Kunstler and other experts in predicting that it's just a matter of time before places like Flint and Detroit become very desirable. After all, they've got water.

John writes:

"Major demographic shifts take years, sometimes decades or longer. European Monarchies starved, bayonetted and repressed their subjects for centuries. They came here by the millions. It took a while. Corruption, terrible resource management and economic inequality in Latin America coupled with the promise of greater economic and political freedom here in the States has encouraged tens of millions to flood into our country in more recent times. The engines of America, places like Flint and Detroit and much of their fellow industrial cities in the East & Midwest froze up, sending millions packing to Texas, Arizona, California and to a lesser degree the Deep South. This process took thirty years and more. Phoenix, Vegas, El Paso, L.A. and most of the rest of the cities of the SouthWest will be ghost towns in twenty years if the hydrologists are right and the water tables sink to nothing and the drought ridden countryside ceases to provide water for reservoirs. If the hippies are right and global warming is real, where do you think those displaced by rising sea levels and unlivable climates will go? It's not rocket science to figure it out. They'll go where there is water and land. If you're thinking long term, now is the best time ever to buy in Detroit (or Flint.) Just ask the European and Asian investors who have started doing just that."
UPDATE: J. Law adds:

"Vacation House" was a bit of an equivocation used for effect in my description. I'm far from wealthy and will never be able to buy in the Bay Area where I work. Having a place I can eventually settle in was an appealing prospect. It's the "place" that was important. Having some leeway in choosing and more than a small knowledge of many of the metropolitan areas in the States, I chose Detroit. There's not much work-work in Detroit compared to the salt water coasts. Those who can work for money from their laptops, while indulging their art or crafts propensities, perhaps for building giant goofy art pieces commissioned by strange cults or indulging in various permutations of psycho-geography, those people, the ones who need SPACE and the potential of community are the first that will return (and are returning.) Since spending a lot of the summer in Detroit, I've discovered a pretty cool & growing group of of artists and craftsmen, some townies, some transplants, who are already digging in in the Metro area.

As to our place: My partner lives there year round & I intend to spend a lot of time there. We know the immediate neighbors and are friendly with them. The neighborhood is pretty mellow & that's the way those who live there like it. I grew up in Michigan in the 60's & 70's (not Detroit or Flint) & scrapping or trashing someone's house would never have been tolerated by the "community." That's a collective attitude I think will grow as more people repopulate urban areas with the common purpose of actually creating a community, or, at the least to live in a relatively safe area surrounded by non predators.

My friend Chris Radcliffe who just visited us from Portland was overwhelmed by the size of the devastated areas and believes it's simply too much to ever repopulate & only pockets will be restored to any kind of civic normalcy. We'll see.

4 comments:

  1. John, like me, I believe your an SF resident. So I have to ask a more practical question. How did you arrange the purchase from so far away? And how do you maintain the house from a distance. Obviously, bad things happen to empty homes in Flint and Detroit. If you have time, gives us the details. Thanks.

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  2. I guess we should have bought 2406 Bassett for $12,600.

    Lori B.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Vacation House" was a bit of an equivocation used for effect in my description. I'm far from wealthy and will never be able to buy in the Bay Area where I work. Having a place I can eventually settle in was an appealing prospect. It's the "place" that was important. Having some leeway in choosing and more than a small knowledge of many of the metropolitan areas in the States, I chose Detroit. There's not much work-work in Detroit compared to the salt water coasts. Those who can work for money from their laptops, while indulging their art or crafts propensities, perhaps for building giant goofy art pieces commissioned by strange cults or indulging in various permutations of psycho-geography, those people, the ones who need SPACE and the potential of community are the first that will return (and are returning.) Since spending a lot of the summer in Detroit, I've discovered a pretty cool & growing group of of artists and craftsmen, some townies, some transplants, who are already digging in in the Metro area.

    As to our place: My partner lives there year round & I intend to spend a lot of time there. We know the immediate neighbors and are friendly with them. The neighborhood is pretty mellow & that's the way those who live there like it. I grew up in Michigan in the 60's & 70's (not Detroit or Flint) & scrapping or trashing someone's house would never have been tolerated by the "community." That's a collective attitude I think will grow as more people repopulate urban areas with the common purpose of actually creating a community, or, at the least to live in a relatively safe area surrounded by non predators.

    My friend Chris Radcliffe who just visited us from Portland was overwhelmed by the size of the devastated areas and believes it's simply too much to ever repopulate & only pockets will be restored to any kind of civic normalcy. We'll see.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hear what yer saying John Law, but can't all of those folks in Phoenix and Las Vegas just buy alotta Dasani?

    While I admire your pluck (not to mention other obvious physical attributes) I suggest you purchase a gatling gun and a fountain of youth for your Detroit digs. I predict you'll be able to double your money sometime around the year 2525... that is if man is still alive.

    ReplyDelete

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