Sunday, December 14, 2014

Blight, Detroit vs. Blight, Brooklyn

From the front page of yesterday's New York Times, Good Intentions of Detroit Residents Are Tested by Blight:
DETROIT — In and around the abandoned houses on Mount Vernon Street, brawls and shootings have erupted, a dogfighting ring has been established, stolen cars were traded and drug deals consummated. So when Michelle Van-Tardy, who has lived on the block for years, saw a disheveled woman in her 50s slip into the abandoned house at 569 Mount Vernon Street, she pounced.
“What are you doing in there?” Ms. Van-Tardy barked. “That’s not your home.”
“Mind your own business,” the woman fired back. “It’s not your house.”
“You know what,” Ms. Van-Tardy, 45, persisted, “you go on, keep going in there. I have some metal for you,” a reference to bullets.
“No, that’s all right,” the woman said and left in a hurry.
And in Brooklyn? Well, as I wrote in January, Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin said the site suffered from "massive blight." 

But consider Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's opinion in the November 2009 decision in the Atlantic Yards eminent domain case:
The land use improvement plan at issue is not directed at the wholesale eradication of slums, but rather at alleviating relatively mild conditions of urban blight principally attributable to a large and, of course, uninhabited subgrade rail cut.
Needless to say, Prospect Heights ain't Detroit. 

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