Monday, March 15, 2010

Al Jazeera Comes to Flint

13 comments:

  1. Kudos to Harry Ryan for being a part of the solution! Does anyone know where in Flint this was shot?

    RoadsideDinerLover

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  2. omg... who designed those "new homes" that Walling wants to put up? They are ghastly... and will be part of the problem in 5 years.

    Flint needs to consider "The Not so Big House" as a model when designing homes.

    Trees may not pay taxes... but supersized homes are really not the answer.

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  3. I agree they are ghastly, but not because of their size. Houses should be built of materials that don't require a lot of maintenance, or they will end up looking bad in just a few years. Also, these designs look like something out of a Sears Roebuck kit from the early 1900s. They don't look modern.

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  4. They certainly don't look "designed" either.

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  5. Bulldoze them all and start over from scratch. A blank canvas would more appealing then those ghastly homes Walling is proposing.

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  6. Trees don't pay taxes, but they don't need services either. Flint needs to adjust to it's 'new size' and it will be fascinating to see how well that is managed. Many cities would love to have expanded greenspace and more room for community gardens. I'm sure some green building experts might like a shot at maximizing the reclaimed materials from the houses that were being knocked down with backhoes. Even the scraps could be used by retired folks to teach a few folks how to frame a chicken coop or weld. UM has a school of architecture AND urban planning, GMI has droves of engineers.

    So time to jettison the old model (growth is the answer), and the old strategy (build it and they will come - hello Autoworld!). Time to play to the strentghs and opportunities that actually exist.

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  7. For the record, the new houses in the video were in the pipeline and actually completed before Walling became mayor. No comment on the aesthetics, but those weren't his deal. In fact, I'm pretty sure that Federal money helped finance a large portion.

    Also, keep in mind Walling has to run again in two years, and the way this urban planning approach was rolled out was pretty bad. Mike Brown, for all the good things he did, implied whole neighborhoods or "quadrants" of the city would disappear. That got people scared.

    Walling's statements seem ridiculous to me. Of course you have to shrink the city. But I wonder if Walling isn't simply using rhetoric that will keep voters happy, while moving forward with Dan Kildee's agenda. Walling's got a master's in urban planning from the University of London. He has to know the city isn't going to "regrow" certain neighborhoods.

    Maybe he'll turn out to be just another in a long line of bad Flint mayors. But in the short term if he keeps tearing down houses I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

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  8. My apologies for the comment about the Sears kit homes. I just looked at some websites that showed pictures of the Sears homes and many looked much better. There's even some really nice looking ones that look like some older homes in the better areas of Flint.

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  9. Doesn't anyone find it odd/disconcerting/disorienting that this report was not produced by CNN/FOX/ABC/NBC/CBS but by Al Jazerra? While all of these networks are covering the same thing and highlighting the arguing Washington talking heads, the official voice of the Arab World is covering the state of America's disenfranchised in the Heartland.

    I think this is a sad day for American Journalism.

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  10. I find it very disturbing, sgc. One has to wonder if this is Schaudenfreude, given the views on OPEC, terrorism, etc. One major thing that did in General Motors as we know it, and as the stockholders knew it, was the run up of oil prices, particularly in 2008. One has to wonder if there are people rejoicing in Flint's misery, like the people seen cheering the September 11, 2001 attacks.

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  11. I have actually found that when I am abroad the Al Jazeera feed ( I can only watch the English version since I do not speak Arabic) does a nice job covering global news. They seem to always target putting a 'human face' to stories, intermixing real people on the ground and political figures. I actually find it to be more intersting than the parade of pundits you would hear from if a US news network is covering the story.

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  12. This is the same Harry Ryan featured in this New York Times article from October.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/19/us/19land.html

    J.L.

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  13. I agree with Jim regarding Al Jazeera. I read their site and watch their channel nearly daily because of exactly what Jim says. They do very good work and often provide viewpoints and stories on subject matter that the more mainstream English-language media, but especially those in the US, are not likely to take up.

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