Monthly Archives: August 2013

How can the “Fortress” Concept help Detroit?

There is a lot of discussion going on about how to handle Detroit filing for bankruptcy. Even more talk on how to rebuild the city. One thing is for sure; rebuilding the “old fashioned way” is not going to cut it this time. It would lead to a similar failure at another point in the future. A rebuilding using the Fortress21 concepts would result in a truly viable solution for everyone in that fair city.

The major Fortress21 Concept to start with is a breakdown of the existing city limits into populations of roughly 50,000. If the current population of Detroit is 700,000 then 14 “districts” would be called for. You can call these sub units anything you want, boroughs, but whatever you call them they have to fit the concept guidelines.

A key point is each district is to be as self-sufficient as possible. This is for a variety of reasons but what it is intended to do is take the pressure off the Regional Grid as much as possible.  A district is planned to have each infrastructure need met so that natural disasters or any other threat will not shut down the whole city. Keeping a district open for business/normal operations is a lot easier in a population of 50,000 that is set up to be self-sufficient.

Each district is comprised of “Green” buildings using alternative energy resources to the maximum extent possible. Generous use of solar panels  (active and passive) can enable a district to be energy self-sufficient.  This is true for any area of critical infrastructure. Water can be stored and treated on top of buildings or in water towers.  No more bursting water mains from aging systems.

The inner circle, of three total, should not have any traditional fuel vehicles located in its district.  The goal here is to make everything within walking distance. If the location is beyond that then a public transportation system of bus and/or rail is available. Rush hour traffic…a thing of the past. In the event that an evacuation is needed then the public system is able to take you to another location. Gridlock…a thing of the past. Depending on the reason for evacuation this could be to a second or outer ring area or to another sub city.

A city using the Fortress Concept should be able to handle a “siege” just like the old castle days.  Being self-sufficient can mean that some evacuations are not needed. It could actually be the case that individual homes in the second or outer ring areas temporarily move to the inner ring of the city in a hotel. Instead of the hotel handling a rush of tourists it shifts into a temporary housing complex so that local workers can still get to work and “normal” operations continue.

Similar to reducing energy dependency on city or regional utility companies the food chain would be more local. Green areas and community gardens throughout all areas of the districts would provide both stores and individuals the ability to grow fruit and vegetables during the growing season for that area. Stores within each district would have both short (in season) and long-term food products available. The goal here is to eliminate the panic buying just before a storm or in the event of a disruption of regional supplies.

I saw one recommendation for Detroit was to allow homesteading. The thought is to have people come to Detroit and “work the land” or fix up a house in order to settle there and gain ownership of that property. This is a tough proposition. How are people going to do this if the infrastructure is no longer there? Pioneers were self-sufficient in order to survive. It is a story for another article but individuals and small groups are not set up for success in a no Grid, no food chain, no medical and no job environment. Sure, you could “bug in” with a year supply of survival food and water but who wants to do that. Who wants to sit in a bunker for a long period of time and try to decide when to come out or rejoin society? What if you head to the bunker or “bug out” and the impending crisis doesn’t happen? In this homesteading scenario, society would not recover and Detroit or any city would stay in a dark ages period indefinitely.

The solution is the Fortress Concept using a new approach to urban planning.  Remember the 5 P’s? Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. The same is true for urban planning. Others have suggested it before with similar concepts like “Garden Cities” or today what we might call Green Cities.  These old concepts need to be planned so that housing, jobs and transportation operate within a certain range that supports a long-term lifestyle. No more urban decay, flight from the city or sprawl.

The suggestions above just touch the surface on what is needed to rebuild Detroit or any other major city facing similar problems. When you get down to the details most cities over 50,000 will have some degree of problems that need to be addressed from a Fortress 21 perspective.

Check It Out. No links to other sites with other cities moving in any direction that is close to the Fortress 21 Concept. If you know of one then let me know.

Quick Tip. Until your local community moves to be more self-sufficient, individuals and families will have to take steps on their own. Since water is a must in any crisis takes steps to have drinking water of at least one gallon per day. Start with a three-day plan then work to capture/retain water for your garden, sanitation, etc.

What Do You Think? Post a reply or ask a question. Let me know if you have approached your city council or leaders on any of the points in the Fortress concept. Thanks for stopping by to read up on this important topic that affects nearly every aspect of our lives.