Detroit Canvas for Sustainability Planning


July 23, 2013

By Dr. Tyra Oldham, LAND sds

The recording of such a large city in the state of economic downturn is a statement to the probability of other cities and states being subject to the same outcome. Detroit’s choices, astronomical but yet, reflective of enterprise thinking utilizing financial and mental instruments that are not uncommon. The failing of big businesses that caused restructuring automotive and crumbling the supply chain was not a part of the sustainability plan thus leaving a metropolis barren and ill fated for bankruptcy.

Detroit is about $18 billion in debt, and “will only be able to pay out a fraction of that in the short term”.  The code that applies to the action are under the Federal Bankruptcy Code, Chapter 9.

The federal bankruptcy code that applies to “municipalities was created by Congress in 1937, it allows municipalities to seek court protection in the event of fiscal crisis and is meant to ensure that basic government functions can continue while policy makers restructure their debt. Chapter 9 differs from other sections of the bankruptcy code, such as Chapter 11 and Chapter 13, which generally provide court relief to cash-strapped businesses and individuals, respectively.”

The enormity of the case for a city to file Chapter 9 is not an anomaly but an outlier  with “fewer than 700 cases since the provision was created in 1937, and 36 since 2010. For that reason, case law is still being settled–although Chapter 9 gives a municipality much broader authority to rewrite union contracts, only after the bankruptcy of Central Falls, R.I. did it become clear that cities would have the ability to escape their pension obligations.”

Thus making “Detroit the largest city in the United States ever to file for bankruptcy — the previous record was held by Stockton, California, which was half the size and owed $26 million. The previous debt record, meanwhile, went to Jefferson County, Alabama, which owed $4 billion when it filed for bankruptcy in 2011.”

The Washington Post revealed, “Governing Magazine has a useful interactive map showing all of the cities, towns, countries, utilities, and other municipalities that have filed for bankruptcy since 2010.”

The economic, resource and discontinuity of a city’s social and economic balance constrained by the its pending legality is a starting model for corporate governance and the individual dismantling of strong rights towards sustainability. The nexus is the integration of social and city powers supporting business enterprises that stop at the point of monopolization in which then systems’ erode. The rebound of the Detroit’s economic state is the risk of assets and loss of financial instrumentation that has short and long-term effects on personal and corporate wealth.

The news of  “The two main groups of creditors arguing they’re entitled to that money are public employees and retirees, and bond holders. The investors are likely to make out better, since more of that debt is secured; the city will continue to pay water and sewer bondholders. Most of the pension debt has no similar backstop.”

Moreover, “City residents will likely suffer a lack of anything other than the most rudimentary public services for a long time, but the impact is likely to be felt most keenly by those who lost a large chunk of the retirement they were counting on.”

The situation has city services in debt either obligating consumers to subsidize or produce a debt restructuring model to reduce short-term losses but overlook the cause of the problem.

The natural response is to put out the fire while obfuscating the origin of how the fire started. Many just doused the fire. The forensics on the problem is not in the ideal blame but the infrastructural applications that triggered the prevailing dominoes.

Further, the mental model of Detroit still exist supported by large manufacturing town that provided jobs paying at levels pushing and producing a strong middle class for white and blue collars. The change from manufacturing to the health model is shift requiring a mental and economic shift. Money and capital cannot heal the wound. The wound requires a bipartite response in which reconciliation and operationalizing is natural progression to sustainability.


LANDsds Sustainable Voice is a news platform to share interconnected ideas, innovation and observation-The Nexuses.

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Posted in Business, Business Developments, Corporate, Economics, Financial News, Google, Government, Infrastructure, Jobs, Legislation, Manufacturing and Processes, Organizational Change, Organizations, Sustainability, Sustainability Nexuses, Sustainable CIties, Sustainable Solutions, Sustainable Voice, Tragedy
2 comments on “Detroit Canvas for Sustainability Planning
  1. […] city of Detroit, which has filed for bankruptcy, has formally hired the international auction house Christie’s to appraise part of the city-owned […]

  2. […] Bankruptcy is one step for a downturn city to settle its debts and rebuild out of the ashes for a sustainable future. […]

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