Posts Tagged ‘Grace Lee Boggs’

Grace Lee Boggs: Building a quality city

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Longtime Detroiter and activist Grace Lee Boggs was at the West Willis block party last Saturday. She was there to celebrate the success of West Willis and the community that has been built around the Avalon Bakery.

She also signed copies of her new book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century.

In speaking briefly with Ms. Boggs, I complimented her on an article she’d written a few years ago, A (Nearly) Carfree Society is Possible.

A lot of people are angry these days about the high price of gas. But one hundred years from now our posterity may bless this period when soaring gas prices finally forced Americans to bike or take public transportation to work and to start dreaming of neighborhood stores within walking distance.

We have a choice: between a city that is friendlier to cars or a city that is friendlier to people, especially children.

While at first glance, her new book doesn’t spend much time specifically on transportation, it does talk about the Motor City.

Detroit is a city of Hope rather than a city of Despair. The thousands of vacant lots and abandoned houses provide not only the space to begin anew but also the incentive to create innovative ways of making a living — ways that nurture our productive, cooperative, and caring selves.

In a similar manner, Detroit’s often abandoned streets are an opportunity to start anew, to design them as Complete Streets and to foster other transportation modes beyond just the car.

And we’re heading in that direction.

The construction of the comprehensive Corktown/Mexicantown Greenlink bike project this year will serve as a good blueprint for other Detroit neighborhoods. It should shed light on what is possible in this city.