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Detroit Land Grab

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  • Scott on the Spot
    Hi all, A new article on urban land-grabbing (in Detroit) in Huffington Post that may be worth your read and comments: A recent article in The Wall Street
    Message 1 of 395 , Aug 4, 2012
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      Hi all,

      A new article on urban land-grabbing (in Detroit) in Huffington Post that may be worth your read and comments:

      A recent article in The Wall Street Journal celebrated the Hantz Farms project to establish a 10,000 acre private farm in Detroit. The project hinges on a very large land deal offered by financial services magnate John Hantz to buy up over 2,000 empty lots from the city of Detroit. Hantz's ostensible objective is to establish the world's largest urban mega-farm.
      I say "ostensible" because despite futuristic artists' renderings of Hantz Farms' urban greenhouses, presently John Hantz is actually growing trees rather than food. The project website invites us to imagine "high-value trees... in even-spaced rows" on a three-acre pilot site recently cleaned, cleared and planted to hardwood saplings. These trees, it seems, are just a first step in establishing a 200 acre forest and eventually -- pending approval by the City Council -- the full Hantz megafarm.
      In the short run, the purchase by Hantz cleans things up, puts foreclosed lots back on the tax rolls and relieves the city of maintenance responsibilities. If the tree farm expands, it could provide a few jobs. In the long run, however, Hantz hopes his farm will create land scarcity in order to push up property values -- property that he will own a lot of.


      My comment, referring to Mason's article too:

      Obviously, Hantz sees value in Detroit's land, even if it has to "squeeze" everyone else into fewer plots. I say this as a preface to eliminate counter-arguments to what ought to be done (and WAS done in Detroit's car-making heyday: http://commonground-usa.net/gaffney_1006.htm): a Land Value Tax.  Tax the land according to its market rental value, and the city can force developers to sell it to more productive landowners, or develop it with buildings etc. themselves. The city seeks to do the reverse with this scheme: subsidize the landowner in the hope they will develop it if they are rewarded enough with speculative gains. This is the worst answer. Hantz is betting the land will be worth more in 5, 10 yrs than it is now. That revenue should go to the city, not to idle landowners who make money from the productive economy, in their sleep.
      Scott Baker - President: Common Ground - NYC; NY State Coordinator: Public Banking Institute; Op Ed News Blogger/Senior Editor; Huffington Post Blogger; Author
    • roy_langston
      ... Which might be why I haven t done so. Citizenship self-evidently isn t a question of natural law, and I ve explained why residence defined as six months +
      Message 395 of 395 , Sep 12, 2012
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        --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "walto" <calhorn@...> wrote:

        > The main point of resorting to natural law pronoucements of the kind you have bellowed is that they are supposed to help us determine what the various human-made laws SHOULD say. That is, if we have a question about know how some law should be constructed with respect to, e.g., who should receive various benefits and for how long or which protections of person or property must be enforced, or whatever, natural law claims are sometimes made--just as you have confidently made them in this context. It is, thus plainly circular to respond, when asked to specify the characteristics of some claimed natural law, "You'll have to consult the local legislature and courts--they'll tell us."

        Which might be why I haven't done so. Citizenship self-evidently isn't a question of natural law, and I've explained why residence defined as six months + reflects the relevant natural law principles.

        -- Roy Langston
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