Michael Jackson, death on prescription

Summer in the playoffs: afamous utopsias (1/6). Friday June 26, 2009, 10 a.m. At the Los Angeles Forensic Institute, Doctor Christopher Rogers, head of the forensic medicine department, is preparing to perform the autopsy of case 2009-04415, the file of which is summarized in a few lines: “The deceased is a 50-year-old black man who suffered from respiratory arrest while at home in the hands of his attending physician. On the day of his death, the deceased complained of dehydration and not could not sleep. Hours later, he stopped breathing and could not be resuscitated. Rescue workers transported him to UCLA medical center, where he was pronounced dead. The deceased was taking several prescription drugs, including clonazepam , trazodone, diazepam, lorazepam [sédatifs], and flomax [traitement de l’adénome de la prostate]. It is not known whether he was taking these treatments regularly. The deceased suffered from vitiligo and had no history of heart problems. “

The identity card specifies that Michael Joseph Jackson, born August 29, 1958, 1.75 m, 61.7 kg, was declared dead on June 25, 2009 at 2:26 p.m., from a presumed accidental or natural cause.

The news of the sudden death of the pop star, in full preparation for a series of concerts after years of absence from the stage, has already circulated the world. The media evoke a “heart attack”. Then the hypothesis of a drug overdose becomes clear, especially since we know the singer long addicted to painkillers and tranquilizers.

THE VERDICT IS WITHOUT AMBIGUITY

But it was not until the end of August that the conclusions of the autopsy report were made public. The verdict is unambiguous. Death is due to acute poisoning with propofol, an anesthetic product. It’s homicide. At the request of the Los Angeles Police, the report itself remains confidential.

Four years and two trials later, the final secrets surrounding the end of “Bambi” ‘s life and death are at your fingertips. The autopsy report, which was one of the key elements in the conviction of his attending physician – cardiologist Conrad Murray – to four years in prison for manslaughter in November 2011, is now available. The entire document can be downloaded from the Autopsyfiles site. It’s just as easy to find post-death photos of the idol on the web, and even a staggering series of “crime scene” snapshots over the past few weeks. Bambi’s Louis XV-style room appears cluttered with infusion equipment, oxygen bottles, prescriptions, boxes of medicines including opened bottles of propofol …

These photos, which say a lot about the musician’s distress and his drug addiction, are published in the media while a new trial has been held since the end of April. The Jackson clan accuses AEG, producer of the singer’s last tour, of being negligent in hiring Doctor Murray to treat him and of putting him under pressure.

“THESE RESULTS ARE VERY ABNORMAL”

Reading the autopsy report held many surprises. In addition to the numerous scars (some due to cosmetic surgery) and areas of depigmentation, it appeared that Michael Jackson had “dark tattoos around the eyes and on the eyebrows” and “a rose tattoo in the lip area”. The reason ? He had been tattooed to hide his vitiligo, an autoimmune disease responsible for skin depigmentation that he had suffered from for years. The anterior half of his skull was also the site of a dark tattoo, and he wore a wig to conceal his baldness (presumably the sequel to a scalp burn that occurred during a shoot in 1984).

The king of pop also suffered from relatively banal pathologies in a fifty-year-old: colon polyp, osteoarthritis, prostate adenoma (treated). More surprisingly, the microscopic examination of his lungs revealed numerous lesions. “These results are very abnormal. In life, such a pathology can be responsible for shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing, and also for chronic cough”, analyzes the anesthesiologist Richard Levy in an article analyzing the autopsy of the star (published in Forensic Research, in 2011). The practitioner adds: “With this lung problem, it would have been difficult for Michael Jackson to exercise physically, and he would have quickly tired.”

This opinion is shared by Frédéric Maître, anatomopathologist at the Medico-Legal Institute of Paris, who confirms that this type of lesion causes respiratory problems on exertion: “Autopsy data shows singer was not in excellent condition. Pulmonary involvement and rheumatic lesions are compatible with chronic lupus disease. The diagnosis of this autoimmune pathology, which affects several organs, had been made a few years earlier in Michael Jackson, but it is not certain. “

“AN OVERDOSAGE OF PROPOFOL SEEMED TO BE BARELY BELIEVABLE”

Could the singer really have been able to choreograph his shows, which were supposed to begin in the days following his death? One thing is certain, he probably could have lived a long time if his addiction to propofol had not caused his death. The toxicological examinations made it possible to detect high levels of this anesthetic, and the presence of benzodiazepines (sleeping pills or sedatives) which could also have contributed to the death.

“When we found out it was a propofol overdose, it seemed barely believable”remembers Professor François Chast, head of the clinical pharmacy service at the Paris Center university hospitals. Because as the investigation proved, the product was administered to Michael Jackson completely outside its indications and the required conditions. “In the OR, propofol is a drug of great safety, it is quickly eliminated, which makes it an ideal product for outpatient surgery. We sleep as soon as it is infused and we wake up very quickly after stopping, continues the pharmacologist. But it can only be used in a hospital environment, with cardio-respiratory monitoring and, if necessary, resuscitation equipment. “

In fact, propofol addictions – “my milk”, as Michael Jackson called it in reference to the color of this product – are extremely rare. In addition, since this drug was put on the market in the mid-1980s, the few dozen cases that have been the subject of publications have been people from the medical world: doctors, in particular anesthetists, or operating room nurses. Apart from Michael Jackson, only one case of propofol abuse has been reported in a non-healthcare professional, writes Dr. Bruno Mégarbane in an article published in the journal Intensive care, in 2010.

Surveys of caregivers show that the drug is often taken initially to sleep or relax, and quickly induces dependence. The “craving” (repeated and irrepressible desire to administer the product) “is intense and persistent, which may explain the installation of an addiction in certain vulnerable subjects”, notes Bruno Mégarbane. Among healthcare professionals, misuse is often discovered at the time of death or a complication, such as a car accident.

Doctor Murray, who had been treating Michael Jackson’s insomnia problem for six weeks and giving him propofol “nightly”, as pointed out in his article Richard Levy, had all the elements to worry about this addiction, and prevent its high risk of fatal outcome.

Read the other parts of the series: “ Napoleon I: the mysteries of an imperial tumor

Detroit loses importance for the auto industry after the bankruptcy

It couldn’t have been worse. Detroit had been languishing for decades, the residents fled this city; from unemployment, from crime, from omnipresent decay. “Motown” was long gone. But it actually went one step further – Detroit had to file for bankruptcy, causing the largest city bankruptcy in US history.

The city in the US state of Michigan owed its former world fame primarily to the automotive industry. Detroit was the car city par excellence, “Motor City”. It lived from the success of the so-called Big Three, the three major vehicle manufacturers based there, General Motors (GM), Chrysler and Ford. Ultimately, the pride of the metropolis became its undoing: When the corporations slid into the crisis, the bad ones began for the city too Years. “Detroit is a symbol of the decline of the American auto industry,” says Stefan Bratzel, head of the Center of Automotive Management in Bergisch Gladbach.

The big three became arrogant

According to the auto expert, this decline began as early as the 1980s. “At that time the US manufacturers still had a dominant position in the vehicle market,” says Bratzel, “but the Japanese brands were getting stronger and stronger.” But the Big Three did not take the competition – especially Toyota – seriously. Instead of expanding their product range, US corporations left the market for small cars and economical models to the Asians. Detroit remained loyal to the highly motorized fuel drinkers. “That was the first missed opportunity,” says Bratzel. As the years went by, it became a problem for Americans. With rising fuel prices at the gas station, their cars became less attractive, and the Japanese also caught up in terms of quality and reliability. The Big Three’s sales fell. The result: They shut down production facilities in Detroit, and suppliers also had to close. The financial crisis accelerated the trip to hell. Then in 2008 the bankruptcy declaration – GM and Chrysler had to beg for government aid.

The car companies have now recovered from the crash, albeit at the expense of savings and job cuts. So Detroit’s decline continued.

The city has lost its status as an exciting automotive metropolis for good: “Meanwhile, other regions in the USA stand for innovations and progress in vehicle construction,” says Bratzel, “for example California, where Tesla is currently successfully developing electric cars.” In his opinion, Detroit has missed the chance of a new beginning a second time.

Not a good place for a glamorous appearance

The past Detroit Auto Show provided evidence of this. At the exhibition, the manufacturers mainly presented new pick-up trucks, sports cars and SUVs – with large cubic capacities and high fuel consumption. You looked in vain for clever hybrid or e-mobiles. The Detroit Auto Show is one of the most important events on the industry’s trade fair calendar.

But even that could soon be over, says Stefan Bratzel. On the one hand, according to him, the importance of the vehicle fairs in Beijing and Shanghai is growing because China is a gold mine for manufacturers. And on the other hand, big car manufacturers now often forego major trade fair appearances and instead present their new models when it suits them – the best example of this is Mercedes with its new S-Class. The attention is certain to them anyway.

Auto expert Bratzel believes that Detroit will therefore be avoided by some manufacturers in the future: “Because who wants to present their new vehicle in a place that stands for the big bankruptcy?”

Icon: The mirror

US Auto City: Detroit is broke – panorama society

The American auto metropolis Detroit is broke. The highly indebted city in the US state of Michigan officially filed for bankruptcy. It is the first time in US history that a city of this size has filed for bankruptcy.

Detroit was barely able to pay the cost of street lighting lately. Police and fire department operations were reduced to the most important emergency calls. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said in a letter attached to the bankruptcy petition that it had “failed to meet citizens”. According to media reports, the city has debts of around $ 19 billion.

Detroit Auto Metropolis – The Abandoned City
1 of 7Fotos: aus The Ruins of Detroit09.11.2014 17:44The downfall of the world is a favorite fantasy of the people. A flood, a mushroom cloud and suddenly everything is over. “The Ruins …

Once known for its thriving auto industry, the city has struggled for financial survival for years. Car makers General Motors, Ford and Chrysler helped the city to flourish, at times with two million inhabitants.

But fierce competition from Japan, wrong business decisions and mismanagement in the city administration plunged Detroit into a “60-year decline,” as Snyder described the city’s decline.

Today 700,000 people still live in the city. (dpa)

INFOGRAPHICS. Detroit’s inexorable decline explained in one image

The city of Detroit declared bankruptcy on Thursday July 18. The conclusion of 60 years of decline, which have led to the city emptying of its population. Abandoned buildings, public services reduced to a minimum, ubiquitous unemployment … the agony of Detroit never ends. For the inhabitants, on a daily basis, this represents streets that are no longer lit, police officers who take infinite time to get to the scene, firefighters who see their budget reduced each year … Today, unemployment is at the highest, per capita income at the lowest. Here are the figures from the Motor Town crisis in an infographic, to be read from top to bottom:

American city of Detroit declares bankruptcy

An expert summed up the causes of this crisis in three points: “poor financial management, a shrinking population, an erosion of the tax base” over the past 45 years. AP / Paul Sancya

Standard of the triumphant automobile at the beginning of the XXe century, Detroit became Thursday July 18 the largest American city to declare bankruptcy, last act in the slow agony of “Motor City”. “I am making this difficult decision so that the people of Detroit have access to the most basic public services and so that Detroit starts again on a solid financial basis that will allow it to grow in the future”, Rick Snyder, the state governor of Michigan, said in a statement. “Bankruptcy is the only solution that will allow Detroit to become stable and viable again”, he had previously written in a letter that accompanied the deed filed with the court.

The debt accumulated by Detroit is vertiginous: $ 18.5 billion. Cornered, the municipality had warned last month that it would be forced to default on part of this sum. By taking the leap, Detroit becomes the largest city in the country to go bankrupt.

“FOREIGN PLAN” AMERICAN CITY

Amy Brundage, a White House spokesperson, assured that President Obama and members of his close team “continue to closely monitor the situation in Detroit”. “If Michigan field leaders and city creditors know they have to find a solution to Detroit’s dire financial straits, we are committed to continuing our strong partnership with Detroit as it works to regain the upper hand, revitalize and maintain its rank among leading American cities “, she added in a statement.

Abandoned house in Brush Park, Detroit, March 3.
Abandoned house in Brush Park, Detroit, March 3. REUTERS / REBECCA COOK

To get out of the rut, Rick Snyder had mandated an expert, Kevyn Orr who, quite soberly, had summarized the causes of this crisis in a few points: “financial mismanagement, a declining population, an erosion of the tax base over the past 45 years”. Scalded by Mr. Orr’s plan to negotiate with the city’s creditors, retirement funds to which Detroit owed $ 9 billion have launched legal proceedings to prevent any cut in the pensions of their subscribers. But bankruptcy puts the procedure on hold.

Read also: “Faced with the crisis, the city of Detroit invited to sell its collection of works of art”

Next step: a judge will now have to say if Detroit can place itself under the protection of the bankruptcy law which allows it to renegotiate its debt.

THE OPPORTUNITY TO END SIXTY YEARS OF DECLINE “

Michigan Governor Rich Snyder tried to be positive, saying the event was “the opportunity to end 60 years of decline” and come back with a new city, “stronger and better”. Beyond the strictly legal and financial aspects of the case, the bankruptcy of Detroit reflects the fall of the automobile, an entire section of the American industry which had boomed at the start of the last century. Cradle of “Big Three” (Ford, Chrysler, General Motors), the city linked its fate to that of the car, to the point that rock groups like the MC5 (“Motor City 5”) or a record company, like Motown (for “Motor Town”), were inspired when it came time to find a name.

But the slow economic and financial decline of Detroit went hand in hand with a social decline illustrated by the exodus of its inhabitants – Detroit lost half of its population in sixty years – and the glaring absence of public services. The municipality is unable to provide public lighting in certain neighborhoods. The crime rate has never been higher in forty years and the police take an average of fifty-eight minutes to arrive when called, compared to eleven minutes in the rest of the United States.

The World with AFP

from rust to (…)


Cultivating the land in the heart of the city is the principle ofurban farming (urban agriculture in French) which has known for several years a growing craze in many metropolises around the world. If some do it to better control their food, in other cities, like Detroit, in Michigan (United States), pioneer in the matter, it is above all the hope of an economic renewal which is nourished.
Update: Overwhelmed by $ 18.5 billion in debt, Detroit became the largest city in the United States on Thursday, July 18, to declare bankruptcy.

Half a century of crises

Indeed, the city has not been spared in recent decades. It all started at the start of the 20th century, when three giants of the automotive industry arrived: Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. There followed a period of indisputable economic growth, which propelled Detroit to the rank of a symbol of industrial America. But that is without counting the crisis that began in the 1970s: globalization obliges, the sector undergoes profound restructuring which results in the closure of entire factories and the layoffs of tens of thousands of workers. The “Manufacturing Belt” around the Great Lakes becomes the “Rust Belt”. Dark Strait in crisis.

But that’s not all: the city has also suffered from particularly strong racial tensions between African-American workers who flocked from the south to work in the auto industry and the white population. In 1967, Detroit was beset by very violent riots, following which a large majority of the white middle class fled to the suburbs. Capital followed, municipal services deteriorated, and the population continued to emigrate. Of the 1.8 million inhabitants in 1950, the heyday of the city, only 700,000 remain today. With this overwhelming result: abandoned housing, brownfields, record crime, unemployment rate more than twice the national rate (reaching up to 50% in some particularly battered areas) … The only cost of maintenance for all these neglected housing is such that the municipality cannot cover it – hence the sorry aspect of the urban landscape-, and the decision, taken last March, to put the city under guardianship to restore its finances.

Vegetable gardens, orchards and fish farming centers

On the other hand, with an area equivalent to the city of San Francisco, these wasteland is a boon to develop urban agriculture. The initiative started a few years ago: in 1970, Mayor Coleman Young launched the program Farm-A-Lot, authorizing residents to obtain a permit to cultivate a piece of land in their neighborhood. 40 years later, 16,000 people would invest in nearly 1,300 gardens. Several associations are also involved in the transformation of Detroit, like Urban Farming, founded in 2005 by singer Taja Sevelle. The association notably manages a community field of 3 hectares, on which tomatoes, cucumbers and other spinach are grown. Vegetables therefore, but also orchards, thanks to the microclimate enjoyed by the Great Lakes region, beehives, chicken coops, and since spring 2013, fish farming … Above all, it is for the inhabitants of Detroit to diversify crops to ensure year-round production.

But how do you make sure the city’s soil, which has not been spared decades of industrialization, is healthy enough to be cultivable? To extract pollutants, especially heavy metals, several phytoremediation methods have been adopted: sunflowers for some, poplars and willows for others. Techniques that are still in the testing phase.

Healthy, accessible and free food?

In addition to a transformed, more attractive and less dangerous urban landscape, what benefits can Detroit hope to gain from this new form of agriculture? First, to feed the population of an agglomeration that some describe as a “food desert”, since access to fresh food is limited there. Few large supermarkets, but many liquor stores who sell, we understand, alcohol but also canned food, and very few fruits and vegetables. For all those who do not have a car (20% of the population anyway), proximity often takes precedence over the quality of food. Urban agriculture therefore makes it possible to offer healthier food to the inhabitants, especially to theEastern market, a large covered market which sells products “Grown in Detroit”, or by truck Peaches and Greens who crisscross the neighborhoods to distribute locally produced fruits and vegetables. In 2010, Michelle Obama in person had visited the famous truck during her national anti-obesity tour.

The fact remains that locally produced food unfortunately has too high a price for a large majority of the population. It is for this reason that many of the associations at the origin of the gardens have made this incredible decision: not to close them, so that everyone can use them free of charge, at any time, without any question being asked. Taja Sevelle, founder of Urban Farming, makes it a point of honor because too many people go hungry in Detroit. However, this desire seems difficult to reconcile with the goal defended by others: that of encouraging people to take part, actively, in the production process, either by cultivating their gardens themselves, or by being a volunteer or employee in a community garden. Question: in this perspective, does not providing free food risk perpetuating a long-standing vicious circle in the city, where a large part of the population survives on dozens of soup kitchens?

Priority to jobs

Above all, the mere free distribution of cultivated products would not make urban agriculture profitable. And if some say that it is mainly a way to recreate social ties, for example through the harvest festival organized each year by the D-Town farm, for others, more down-to-earth, the urgency is first of all to generate jobs, in particular to stop the emigration of the inhabitants (always up to ten thousand people per year). To this end, a number of associations offer various and varied courses to train entrepreneurs and future employees. But this creation of posts, which often requires several years, remains for the moment limited in number. Another problem raised: some worry that these potential jobs will not benefit the current residents of Detroit, but people who have just moved to the city.

But large-scale projects worry …

What about the popularity of these projects among the population? If small community gardens are often greeted with pleasure and gratitude, if only because they offer a more pleasant living environment, other projects are more difficult to accept. This is particularly the case of John Hantz, the son of an automobile worker, who wishes to acquire nearly 1,500 plots to plant 50,000 trees. Many voices were raised against this project, denouncing the very advantageous price at which the land is acquired. Opponents fear that some businessmen may be speculating. In addition, other concerns about the use that would be made of these areas were expressed: fear of excessive use of pesticides, GMO plantations … As a result, the project stagnated for several years and is only start. From the small personal vegetable patch to the large urban farms that could produce a significant part of the population’s consumption of fruit and vegetables, there is still a long way to go.

Detroit is not the only city that has wagered on urban agriculture to emerge from the economic slump: in Rosario, Argentina, a similar phenomenon has been observable since the crisis of 2001. The UN program for Habitat also recognized, in 2004, the Rosario plan as one of the ten best practices in the world to fight poverty while respecting the environment.

For more information on urban agriculture, we invite you to consult this report on the ENSAT Round Tables of December 4, 2012 “Urban agriculture, between common ground and fields of tension”

Sources

  • Urban activities, actors and challenges, Brownfields of Detroit, November 10, 2007
  • Alter Echos, Detroit: urban agriculture, an antidote to deindustrialization?, May 15, 2013
  • L’Express, How Detroit turns to agriculture, August 20, 2010
  • Liberation, Under the paving stones of the earth, June 9, 2009
  • Urban Farming
  • HuffPost Detroit, Peck Produce are taking their Detroit urban farm to the next level, April 9, 2013
  • Greening of Detroit
  • HuffPost Detroit, Soil Remediation: Detroit Experiments Explore Urban Farming’s Next Frontier, July 26, 2012
  • CBSNews, Bringing Fresh Food to Areas that Get None, September 3, 2009
  • Michigan Live, Hantz Woodlands, billed as “world’s largest urban farm”, starts to take shape on Detroit’s east side, June 26, 2013

from rust to (…)


Cultivating the land in the heart of the city is the principle ofurban farming (urban agriculture in French) which has known for several years a growing craze in many metropolises around the world. If some do it to better control their food, in other cities, like Detroit, in Michigan (United States), pioneer in the matter, it is above all the hope of an economic renewal which is nourished.
Update: Overwhelmed by $ 18.5 billion in debt, Detroit became the largest city in the United States on Thursday, July 18, to declare bankruptcy.

Half a century of crises

Indeed, the city has not been spared in recent decades. It all started at the start of the 20th century, when three giants of the automotive industry arrived: Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. There followed a period of indisputable economic growth, which propelled Detroit to the rank of a symbol of industrial America. But this is without counting the crisis that began in the 1970s: globalization obliges, the sector undergoes deep restructuring which leads to the closure of entire factories and the layoffs of tens of thousands of workers. The “Manufacturing Belt” around the Great Lakes becomes the “Rust Belt”. Dark Strait in crisis.

But that’s not all: the city has also suffered from particularly strong racial tensions between African-American workers who flocked from the south to work in the auto industry and the white population. In 1967, Detroit was beset by very violent riots, following which a large majority of the white middle class fled to the suburbs. Capital followed, municipal services deteriorated, and the population continued to emigrate. Of the 1.8 million inhabitants in 1950, the heyday of the city, only 700,000 remain today. With this overwhelming result: abandoned housing, brownfield sites, record crime, unemployment rate more than twice the national rate (reaching up to 50% in some particularly battered areas) … The only cost of maintenance for all these neglected housing is such that the municipality cannot cover it – hence the sorry aspect of the urban landscape-, and the decision, taken last March, to put the city under guardianship to restore its finances.

Vegetable gardens, orchards and fish farming centers

On the other hand, with an area equivalent to the city of San Francisco, these wasteland is a boon to develop urban agriculture. The initiative started a few years ago: in 1970, Mayor Coleman Young launched the program Farm-A-Lot, authorizing residents to obtain a permit to cultivate a piece of land in their neighborhood. 40 years later, 16,000 people would invest in nearly 1,300 gardens. Several associations are also involved in the transformation of Detroit, like Urban Farming, founded in 2005 by singer Taja Sevelle. The association notably manages a community field of 3 hectares, on which tomatoes, cucumbers and other spinach are grown. So vegetable gardens, but also orchards, thanks to the microclimate enjoyed by the Great Lakes region, beehives, chicken coops, and since spring 2013, fish farming … Above all, it is a question for the inhabitants of Detroit of diversifying crops in order to ensure year-round production.

But how do you make sure the city’s soil, which has not been spared decades of industrialization, is healthy enough to be cultivable? To extract pollutants, especially heavy metals, several phytoremediation methods have been adopted: sunflowers for some, poplars and willows for others. Techniques that are still in the testing phase.

Healthy, accessible and free food?

In addition to a transformed, more attractive and less dangerous urban landscape, what benefits can Detroit hope to gain from this new form of agriculture? First, to feed the population of an agglomeration that some describe as a “food desert”, since access to fresh food is limited there. Few large supermarkets, but many liquor stores who sell, we understand, alcohol but also canned food, and very few fruits and vegetables. For all those who do not have a car (20% of the population anyway), proximity often takes precedence over the quality of food. Urban agriculture therefore makes it possible to offer healthier food to the inhabitants, especially to theEastern market, a large covered market which sells products “Grown in Detroit”, or by truck Peaches and Greens who crisscross the neighborhoods to distribute locally produced fruits and vegetables. In 2010, Michelle Obama in person had visited the famous truck during her national anti-obesity tour.

The fact remains that locally produced food unfortunately has too high a price for a large majority of the population. It is for this reason that many of the associations at the origin of the gardens have made this incredible decision: not to close them, so that everyone can use them free of charge, at any time, without any question being asked. Taja Sevelle, founder of Urban Farming, makes it a point of honor because too many people go hungry in Detroit. However, this desire seems difficult to reconcile with the goal defended by others: that of encouraging people to take part, actively, in the production process, either by cultivating their gardens themselves, or by being a volunteer or employee in a community garden. Question: in this perspective, does not providing free food risk perpetuating a long-standing vicious circle in the city, where a large part of the population survives on dozens of soup kitchens?

Priority to jobs

Above all, the mere free distribution of cultivated products would not make urban agriculture profitable. And if some say that it is mainly a way to recreate social ties, for example through the harvest festival organized each year by the D-Town farm, for others, more down-to-earth, the urgency is first of all to generate jobs, in particular to stop the emigration of the inhabitants (always up to ten thousand people per year). To this end, a number of associations offer various and varied courses to train entrepreneurs and future employees. But this creation of posts, which often requires several years, remains for the moment limited in number. Another problem raised: some worry that these potential jobs will not benefit the current residents of Detroit, but people who have just moved to the city.

But large-scale projects worry …

What about the popularity of these projects among the population? If small community gardens are often greeted with pleasure and gratitude, if only because they offer a more pleasant living environment, other projects are more difficult to accept. This is particularly the case of John Hantz, the son of an automobile worker, who wishes to acquire nearly 1,500 plots to plant 50,000 trees. Many voices were raised against this project, denouncing the very advantageous price at which the land is acquired. Opponents fear that some businessmen may be speculating. In addition, other concerns about the use that would be made of these areas were expressed: fear of excessive use of pesticides, GMO plantations … As a result, the project stagnated for several years and is only start. From the small personal vegetable patch to the large urban farms that could produce a significant part of the population’s consumption of fruit and vegetables, there is still a long way to go.

Detroit is not the only city that has wagered on urban agriculture to emerge from the economic slump: in Rosario, Argentina, a similar phenomenon has been observable since the crisis of 2001. The UN program for Habitat also recognized, in 2004, the Rosario plan as one of the ten best practices in the world to fight poverty while respecting the environment.

For more information on urban agriculture, we invite you to consult this report on the ENSAT Round Tables of December 4, 2012 “Urban agriculture, between common ground and fields of tension”

Sources

  • Urban activities, actors and challenges, Brownfields of Detroit, November 10, 2007
  • Alter Echos, Detroit: urban agriculture, an antidote to deindustrialization?, May 15, 2013
  • L’Express, How Detroit turns to agriculture, August 20, 2010
  • Liberation, Under the paving stones of the earth, June 9, 2009
  • Urban Farming
  • HuffPost Detroit, Peck Produce are taking their Detroit urban farm to the next level, April 9, 2013
  • Greening of Detroit
  • HuffPost Detroit, Soil Remediation: Detroit Experiments Explore Urban Farming’s Next Frontier, July 26, 2012
  • CBSNews, Bringing Fresh Food to Areas that Get None, September 3, 2009
  • Michigan Live, Hantz Woodlands, billed as “world’s largest urban farm”, starts to take shape on Detroit’s east side, June 26, 2013