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April 21, 2014 - Image 4

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4A - Monday, April 21, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Monday, April 21, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

4C fitigan Batilg
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
r 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MEGAN MCDONALD
PETER SHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Renovating campus connections
The new North Campus Grove project will promote a sense of community
tudents living on Central Campus hardly ever have a reason to go to
North Campus. The University's Board of Regents is trying to change
that with the North Campus Grove project. On April 17, the regents
approved a plan to invest $6.9 million into renovating the outdoor spaces on
North Campus. University administrators hope this will promote a sense of
community within North Campus itself and between the two campuses. The
area is an integral part of the University that should be better incorporated
into the student experience during their college careers, and the North
Campus Grove project will do just that.

Deconstructing the 'Two Cities' tale

With the assistance of gifts, the College of
Engineering will be funding the Grove project.
The project itself will focus on four acres of
land surrounding the Lurie Tower. These
renovations include building a brick plaza
which will be able to fit about 800 people and
will act as a site for students to hold meetings
and special events. Engineering Dean Dave
Munson has said there are also plans to
construct an amphitheater. Munson also noted
that a sandlot volleyball court and an ice-
skating rink are being considered. The project
will also plant trees, add walkways and seating
and improve lighting.
With North Campus so far removed from the
restaurants and bars of Central Campus, thereis
a noticeable difference in student life between
the two. An apparent lack of nightlife causes
many students to spend much of their free time
on Central Campus. Some students appreciate
North Campus's quietude, but many feel there is
a lack of activities to engage in. By constructing a
new plaza and amphitheater, students on North
Campus may be more inclined to hold public
events and gatherings, - promoting a sense
of community. Furthermore, North Campus
houses about 60 percent of all freshmen at the
University, the students for whom creating a
sense of community is most important in their
inaugural year in college.
Many students living on Central Campus
LEV FACHAER C

rarely go to North Campus. With such a large
portion of the student body residing in that
area, it is important to foster a more connected
community between the two campuses. By
providingspaces like the volleyball court and ice
rink, students on Central Campus may be more
tempted to make the trip. The University should
work to create more such social spaces, like
restaurants or cafes, to emulate the attractions
of Central Campus. Additionally, the University
should ensure the bus schedule runs on its
10-minute schedule to make the trip between
campuses more convenient for students.
Despite the lack of restaurants and bars, North
Campus is home to many amazing installations
that students miss out on due to the lack of
intercampus community. From the musicals
and plays at the Arthur Miller Theater to the
Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments in
the School of Music, Theater and Dance, North
Campus caters to a wide range of interests. By
encouraging intercampus communities, the
North Campus Grove project will expose more
students to these underutilized resources.
Traveling to and living on North Campus
has long been considered a hassle by students.
But these new renovations to the outdoor areas
will be a first step to ending that reputation.
The University should work to create more such
social spaces, like restaurants or cafes, to create a
truly connected community.

D etroit is the arsenal of
democracy, Motown
and the birthplace of the
mass-produced
automobile.
Detroit is also
the largest
municipality
in U.S. history
to declare
bankruptcy and
faces immense
challenges typical ALEXANDER
inkindbutunique HERMANN
in magnitude and
circumstance.
Even with years of careful analysis, at
times it's challenging justto wrap your
mind around it all.
Against this backdrop, many
narratives describing Detroit have
emerged, representing the collective
experiences, perceptions and biases of
those residingin, livingnear or merely
observing the city from afar. A smaller
subset of these narratives is granted
legitimacythrough their broadcast to a
wider audience - via the news media,
documentaries, books and more.
But no matter how many times
you repeat them, most narratives of
Detroit are complete bullshit.
Last week, a group of students,
faculty and other community
members on campus criticized a few
of these faulty constructs as part ofthe
student-led Detroit School of Urban
Studies' wrap-up session.
My personal favorite narrative?
Detroit is a "blank slate" - an
imagined ruined landscape whose
biggest asset is its emptiness. Absent
structural obstacles, the city provides
a laboratory for innovative urban
revival efforts and design practices.
These sentiments, of course, ignore
the existence of nearly 700,000
residents in the city and the fact that,
despite awell-documented population
declinesincethe1950s,Detroitstillhas
a higher population density than cities
like Denver, Atlanta, and Portland,
Ore. Kernels of truth - particularly
the notion that innovative solutions
are required here given the challenges
confronting the city - don't make the
blank-slate presupposition any less
damaging.
But other, seemingly more
innocuous, Detroit narratives can be
equally harmful.
One increasingly prevalent
perspective labels Detroit as the "tale
of two cities." In this narrative, on
one hand you have the 7.2-square mile
Greater Downtown area comprising
the Central Business District, the
arts and cultural center, Midtown,
and more. Here, you'll find Detroit's

professional sports stadiums, two of
its major hospitals, world-renowned
architecture, a disproportionately
high percentage of the city's
restaurants and nightlife, and most
of its major recent commercial and
residential successes.
The second city in this narrative is
Detroit's struggling neighborhoods
- characterized by crippling rates
of unemployment, crime, poverty,
housingvacancies, blight and a woeful
education system. Here, economic
activity is essentially reduced to
zero, and any meaningful private
investment is lacking. Contrastingthe
vibrancy and excitement surrounding
downtown, the neighborhoods are
largelyviewed as aculturalwasteland.
Though the "tale of two cities"
narrative actually acknowledges
residents' existence and, once again,
contains small tidbits of truth,
this simple dichotomy ignores the
diversity of Detroit's communities
- neighborhood to neighborhood,
block to block, and, in some places,
street to street.
I know it seems nitpicky on my part
- after all, colloquial labeling is rarely
meant to capture the complexities
inherent in the object being described.
However, as interest in Detroit grows
to its highest point in the last half
century, it's paramount, now more
than ever, to properly frame our
discussions aboutthe city.
Most importantly, however, it's the
neighborhoods that fall outside this
binary - the third, fourth and fifth
cities of Detroit - that really require
our attention.
John Gallagher's most recent
book, Revolution Detroit: Strategies
for Urban Reinvention, discusses the
benefits of "targeting" funds - federal
and state-level grants, municipal
investments and philanthropic
giving included - toward a narrower
set of "middling" neighborhoods.
According to Gallagher, such funding
is too widely dispersed among
well-off neighborhoods - those
possessing the political clout and
influence to attract investment - and
the poorest neighborhoods - those
demonstrating the greatest need but
require considerably more investment
than what's actually feasible.
If only a greater share of available
funds were allocated to communities
in the middle, then "multiplying
effects" would eventually stabilize
the housing market and, hopefully,
spur real private investment in that
community.
Make no mistake, contrary to the
dominant "two cities"' narrative,
these "middling" neighborhoods

exist across Detroit. Neighborhoods
with strong community development
organizations and local involvement,
prominent anchor institutions, and
those adjacent to stable areas are all
potential candidates for targeting.
Take the neighborhoods in
Southwest Detroit as an example.
Many of these neighborhoods saw
stabler populations between the
2000-2010 census compared to
the rest of Detroit, while smaller
neighborhoods within Southwest
Detroit - including Mexican Town
- represent one of the few places in
the city that actually saw increases
in population in that time. Due to an
influx of Hispanic immigrants, many
neighborhoods in Southwest Detroit
have few blighted homes and property
vacancies - resulting in higher
levels of commercial and residential
investment.
Farfromthevibrancyofdowntown,
Southwest Detroit doesn't fit neatly
into the "two cities" dichotomy.
Yet, it's Southwest Detroit - and
those neighborhoods like it, including
North End, the University District,
Grandmont-Rosedale and more -that
shouldbe mostvisible to thoselooking
to influence Detroit.
Realistically, despite the potential
benefits, targeting is politically
perilous. Presumably, a dollar
more given in Southwest Detroit
represents a dollar taken from another
neighborhood, like Brightmoor or
Osborn. Creating stakeholder buy-in,
then, from the major foundations, city
officials and community members
will always be a challenge. But these
efforts are feasible when you assure
all communities that abandonment
isn't an option, and then deliver clear,
honest and participatory strategies for
improvement in each neighborhood.
Ultimately, targeting, along with
other redevelopment and land-use
tacticsincludinghouse-swapandside-
lot programs, might help create the
desired pockets of population density
in areas across the city after years
of implementation. Theoretically at
least, this would allow for more cost-
effective municipal service delivery
- improved fire coverage, police
response times and trash pickup at a
cheaper rate.
I'll admit, however, that these
distant ends might be a mere pipe
dream.
Regardless, the means to a better
future, whatever it looks like, requires
us to discard the present fictions we
use to write the story of Detroit today.
-AlexanderHermanncanbe
reachedataherm@umich edu.

I am still pro-Israel

The most important action the University's
Jewish community can take to promote peace in
the Middle East is this: an open condemnation of
Israel's far-reaching violations of human rights
inoccupiedPalestine. Itwon'tbeeasyorwithout
controversy, yet if my community is going to
stand up for what's right, it has to be done.
Instead, the rhetoric from those who oppose
the movementto divestfromcompanies inviola-
tion of human rights hasn't included enough of
that sentiment. Anti-resolution speakers' pleas
to "focus on peace" were well intentioned, yet
some shifted focus away from what's important.
Many speakers acknowledged their opposi-
tion to the occupation, and to Israel's wrong-
doings. They expressed their desire for
engagement, and should be commended.
At the same time, there's a bottom line that
wasn't addressed. This University's Jewish
community supports human rights, supports a
two-state solution, and opposes much of Israel's
role in the conflict. Why can't it more openly
and collectively take a stand against human
rights abuses, regardless of the context and how
difficult the words are to muster?
Too often, polarizing phrases like "pro-
Israel" interfere with people's ability to express
their true feelings. The tone within the Jewish
community seems to be that publicly expressing
issues with unethical actions Israel takes on a
regular basis makes one "anti-Israel," the only
logical alternative to "pro."
I ampro-Israel, inthatIsupportthe existence
of a democratic state that will always be a safe
haven for the Jewish people. To say that.I am not
pro-Israel because I condemn a human rights
violation is troubling. I am pro-Palestine, as are
all of my peers - we support the peaceful coexis-
tence of two states whose peoples live freely.
Yet some of the Jewish community banded
together to oppose a resolution that encouraged
the divestment of University money from
companies including Heidelberg Cement, a
firm that illegally exploits natural resources
in the occupied West Bank to benefit the
Israeli economy. I don't understand why
even the most "pro-Israel" of students would
want our University's money anywhere near
Heidelberg Cement.
In private, blind support of Israel is hardly
the norm. In my experience, the vast majority of
the Jewish community opposes new settlements
in the occupied territories and would certainly
oppose practices like those of Heidelberg
Cement and Caterpillar, a corporation whose
equipment is used to bulldoze Palestinian homes
to make way for those settlements.
Things change in public. The perception that
allowing the larger campus community to hear
one's disgust for unjust Israeli practices means
that one is not "supporting Israel" is alive and
well.

If "supporting Israel" means I can't tell the
world how much Israel's colonialism pains me,
count me out. That Israel "needs our support"
doesn't matter. Regardless of the circumstance,
wrong is wrong. I don't believe that stating my
opposition to new Israeli settlements or exces-
sive force used by the Israeli military makes me
anti-Israel. My issues with the tax incentives
Israel offers its citizens for moving into those
settlements are rooted only in love for a country
that claims to serve as mypeople's homeland.
SotI found it painful when my Facebook wall,
the night before the BDS resolution came before
CSG, was flooded with statements from Jewish
peers claiming that while they support peace
and support all narratives, the resolution sup-
ported neither, and therefore they'd oppose it.
Saying that you support all narratives when
those narratives inherently conflict reduces
your statement to letters on a page, nothing
more. Saying that you support positive change
while you oppose divestment from Heidelberg
Cement, a company that operates quarries in the
West Bank whose profits benefit only the Israeli
economy - textbook colonialism - does not
make sense to me.
The refrain that "BDS is divisive" gained
no traction in my mind, either. Many cited
the resolution's divisiveness as a reason they
couldn't support it, yet the resolution was only
divisive because they didn't support it in the first
place. The fact that you oppose something is not
grounds for further opposition,
This University divested from tobacco
companies in 2000. While harmful, smoking
cigarettes isn't comparable to a government
and a group of companies violating basic moral
principles. If we can divest from cigarettes, we
can divest from the occupation.
The mentality that supporting Israel entails
never publicly opposing any of its actions or
policies is what's divisive, and only polarizes
the Jewish community between those willing
to speak out and those nottcomfortable doing so.
I'm not saying that I wish the BDS resolution
had passed. There are more productive, more
holistic and more inclusive ways to promote
peace. Arguments about its one-sidedness were
reasonable and the Students Allied for Freedom
and Equality did a poor job encouraging
meaningful dialogue.
I do wish that more of the people opposing it
had used language that respected Israel's role in
the conflict instead of reducing the resolution
to a battle between those for Israel and those
against it. It's time the Jewish community pub-
licly stands up to injustice in its homeland so that
students' self-professed desire for peace doesn't
seem like such an empty statement.
Lev Facher is an LSA sophorore and
a Michigan Daily sports writer.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Jaekwan An, Berry Belmont, Edvinas Berzanskis, David Harris, Rachel John,
Nivedita Karki, Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria
Noble, Melissa Scholke, Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman,
Allison Raeck, Linh Vu, Meher Walia, Mary Kate Winn, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
A road trip through America

The writer's opinion on our
fair country is based off the
song "America" by Simon
and Garfunkel.
The beautiful,
the free. Closeted A
in cornfields,
hidden by
highwaysN
and shards of
billboards, our
nation glows, SOPHIA
blinding planes USOW
and passing _
stars. We sleep in
its beds of down
and dirt while quiet monstrosities
protect us from the elements; air
conditioners drip cool on the
basement floor, the baby sings in
strange treble tones. Acid rain on
our tongues, explosions under our
eyelids, sutures in our logic. Nobody
can touch us, nobody can teach
us, our feelers are everywhere:
creeping, knowing.
Everybody in America loves
Raymond, soft rock, Chinese take-
out. No one likes cheap talk. Nobody
likes waiting. Silence is rust-colored
plastic wrap. We talk until our voices
sputter and die on the two-lane
blacktop, we rest all other thoughts
out to dry in the cyber breeze.
Senile old women complain about
Applebee's entrees but we know
better, there are bigger problems to
face, what's the Dollar Menu looking
like nowadays?
It took me four days to hitchhike
to Saginaw, but I was determined to
get there because that's where my
friend was having his drag show.
I've got some real estate here in my
bag: some Monopoly pieces, some
memories to forget. Riding off into
the horizon, John Wayne realizes he
left his charger at home. Who knew
it was this easy to fall so far so fast?

Violence in video games makes
our children want to hit each
other with Glock nines, hentai in
adolescence makes nerds out of our
future leaders, Ciroc makes beasts
out of scared little boys. Poetry is
found in dark corners beside the
highway, those forgotten places
known only as tin hammocks for gas
station clerks. When The Man tells
you he loves you, don't believe it,
don't be charmed. He's been eating
food with lots of MSG. The sodium is
doing the talking.
In America, commercials compel
civilians to say things: "topless beer
party" and "like a good neighbor
insurance company heartland
Toby Keith." From sea to shining
indoor swimming pool, the Dream
is everywhere, the Waffle Taco has
arrived. Paul Blart Mall Cop wins
the electoral college. In his inaugural
speech he brings the audience to its
knees: four score and seven years
ago our WiFi connection was bad,
our corn syrup grew wild, our native
population threw up smoke signals
not even Watson's logarithms could
make sense of. Electronic Dance
Music didn't exist, there were
not yet any sick womps or faces
rolling with furry inertia across the
lonesome prairie. We used candles
to make our light shows. There were
no music videos, no spring breaks,
no parachute pants. Democracy
was vibrant and men tickled one
another with bayonets and knew no
Queen Bey.
The embers of the last dying
American Spirits illuminate our
path, forlorn wanderers counting
the cars on the New Jersey turnpike.
In the kitchens of local haunts,
accents fly with broken wings over
surfaces of plates dirty with Cholula
hot sauce. Tie-dye t-shirts with the
spit of different berries and bleaches

clothe our greatest cities: De Moines,
Paris, Texas, Palo Alto. What is a
gabardine suit? Do they sell them at
Marshalls? Hot Topic haunts twenty-
somethings' closets, providing tube
tops that leave midriffs open to the
setting sun and proclaim its wearers
are "Daddy's Little Nightmare."
Michigan seems like a dream
to me now. Out the rear window
of a dirty house filled with the
sweat of men, I see its trees: tall,
ghostly, nature's dinosaurs. When
rain soaks through the soil it is
surprised to find that roots and
branches are mirror images of one
another with only one degree of
difference; reflections on blurry
puddles of mud. Looking out the
back seat glass I see fields fly by
and turn into blurry moonscapes
of soy and crushed cans. I love this
place, I never want to leave. I want
it to keep turning me on myself,
selling me a troubling mystery I can
never crack, not even with the help
of Detective Stabler or the Hardy
Boys. I like it better that way, I like
the assuredness of the daily news
that features failing celebrity skin
and the clash of civilizations in the
same breath. I like not knowing
who I am or where I need to be.
Let us be lovers, we'll marry
our fortunes together. I have only
the anticipation of heartbreak and
a quick rush of dopamine to give
you. We'll escape the wedding and
jump on a passing bus. Our ecstasy
will become numbing. We'll think
they've turned the camera off.
Our smiles will fade. We'll stare in
different directions.
I'll say, "I'm lost," though I know
you can't hear me.
-SophiaUsow canbereached
sophiaus@umich.edu.

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