IIRC, I was looking up the prices of various lots, and many homes were $1000! Now, I don't live anywhere close to Detroit, but the idea of spending maybe $10,000 to $100,000 for dozens or even hundreds of houses is interesting.
Developing for humans may be a problem: Hundreds-of-thousands of people have left Detroit, leaving the city in the state that it is in today. But the houses and infrastructure (roads, water, electricity) may be useful for some niches, even in a "ghost town" situation (Or perhaps: more of a "ghost suburb" situation. Neighborhoods with shrinking populations will naturally have weaker schools, causing more people to leave, causing taxes to go up on the remaining people, causing more people to leave, etc. etc. Its a bad death-spiral effect).
I think I recall an article about how one writers group was buying up neighborhoods to station writers-circles, effectively creating a community of writers imported from around the country to one location, so that the writer-circle can leverage each other as an author support group.
I haven't heard of this Bee Farm thing, but I would have expected that sort of thing to be better in a more rural community.
In any case: redeveloping all of that land and making it useful (as opposed to broken down neighborhoods with crumbling infrastructure) is a big question for Detroit... and investors / businessmen. There's probably a lot of opportunity there.
Well, first, bee colonies have been shown to be more productive in urban environments than in rural environments.
Secondly, there are acres and acres of open green land where Detroit used to be. It's unusable for brownfield development or cash cropping because of soil contamination, but could conceivably be used for pasturage or bee foraging. I image any problems have more to do with rent-seeking politics than technical issues.
I’m not so sure. Suburbia where I am has a lot of plants, and abandoned sections likely have even more. That’s a shelter from weather and a food source.
My suburban hives averaged way more than industry averages (65kgs each) and they are suburban. Good beekeeping wasn’t why.
What happened here was that new college grads, artists, punks, and people generally looking for a cheap place to live moved into unrenovated apartments...
And now it's a tech hub and haven of cheap living ;)
Did not find a good source in English, just a German article: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/kritik-an-bienenkaesten-a...
and a terrible translation thereof:
Buy up a shit ton of property for extremely low prices - it already has city infra, power, water, etc.
Install solar on lots. Bui;d a fucking datacenter for pennies on the dollar compared to other places.
Install municipal wifi with UBNT equipment
and transform the abandoned parts of the city for extremely cheap and reap the benefits both socially and financially in ten years.
If you have money to speculatively invest in real-estate -- buy everything you can in detroit.
Then get celeb detroiters to join and help back you.
Detroit is just ripe for innovation and can become a tech hub with LOW COST housing ASAP.
FUCKING CANNABIS is legal in MI now -- build a huge extraction lab there easily and cheaper than ANY other state in the nation.
I actually know someone who bought a house for 6K. He did not buy it from the land bank so he might be able to sit on it, theoretically, and hope it gains some value. But do your due diligence because there may be big taxes, unpaid utility bills, etc, encumbering the property.
The reason no one buys is actually a lot simpler than that, if you buy, you have to bring the place up to code. Further, the city watches like a hawk to make sure no one games the system or takes advantage of the poor people living there. So in short, the real price is nowhere even close to the USD1000 that you heard about on the news.
These guys got some exemptions from rules because: "agriculture". Most people would not be getting that exemption. It's just too much work and you could never change and say, "Oh, I want to build a building there now!"
I mean, if Detroit wants to save Detroit, seems like that would be better than letting houses rot.
It's one thing to renovate one home in squatter and abandoned zones for yourself. Another thing entirely to bank on entire subdivisions of people wanting to move into such an area. Who's going to buy the home you build next to the squatters?
And keep in mind, if no one buys and moves in, you're still liable for upkeep on each and every one of the lots. For as long as it takes to sell. Which may never actually happen.
I'm imagining enough that squatted buildings are on opposite sides of the street from the new development and/or there can be a buffer.
Mike Ilitch and Dan Gilbert have done amazing things in a 5 square block section of downtown, but it does little to help the population of Detroit. These taxpayer-funded giveaways to local billionaires has not exactly played out as planned.
When I used to watch the Walking Dead I kept thinking there was a missed opportunity to do something similar in Detroit with any post-apocalyptic show and some abandoned neighborhoods. Even razing the properties afterward and paying for disposal would be an improvement in safety.
-- someone who owns and is currently renovating property in Detroit.
I tried that but it left the cannabis too soggy and hard to light.
So one must also create meadows.
If they are on polluted ground (common in cities), probably the mead and thus the honey will also contain poisons.
Highly recommend this fascinating article about the subject: https://www.kew.org/read-and-watch/hidden-poison-rhododendro...
Honey from cities tends to also taste better than rural, because the variety of flowers is far higher.
And since I refuse to blindly accept those opaque terms Oath popups basically have become an automated call to close the tab for me these days.
That said, Detroit Hives is a really cool team who deserve exactly none of the blame for Huffpost's bad journalism.
1. the color of the beekeepers' skin is irrelevant and appears to have been an addition made by the poster
2. "The duo bought their first vacant space on Detroit’s East Side for $340 with the help of the Detroit Land Bank Authority, an agency that works to redevelop abandoned properties."
That is a redevelopment effort designed to get action.
Can anyone comment on how this program and zoning requirements interact?
You'd be welcome to repost your point about land redevelopment, which I assume doesn't contain any flamebait, in a comment of its own.
Edit: since some people are arguing that it's an essential element of the story, I'm happy to put it back. The issue here is trying to get the content of the article the most interesting, substantial discussion the community can give it. That requires minimizing the things that push discussions in nasty, stupid directions, which we do routinely on this site all day.
Why is mentioning the fact that they're black somehow flamebait here on HN? This is a story written by a black man, under 'Black Voices' about Black beekeepers with their race explicitly mentioned in the title of the article.
Empirically it might reduce flame wars on HN, but you need to take a long hard consideration as to why it causes flame wars on HN and not other sites. Because to me, that signifies a certain, non-small proportion of the userbase here is unable to handle topics involving race, and that section of the userbase is so virulent that even stories which do not proselytize are wrapped up into the flame war.
And to preempt the argument I already see forming: Yes, social media sites and HN are a reflection of society. But your duty as someone maintaining the site is to control what parts and in what ways it reflects society. It is an excuse. Not an argument. And I find erasing race from discussions because it might inflame racists to be particularly egregious. I can understand doing so if the poster did so in a way as to misrepresent the article, but this was not the case.
This is so evidently false that I'm inclined to think it's even contrary to what you suggest; "other sites" is far too ambiguous.
Your argument about this feels to me a bit like backseat driving. All of HN's problems in these areas are endemic to the category it belongs to: a large, public, optionally anonymous, completely open internet forum. Find one of those we can learn to do better from, and I'll be delighted to.
The sites I'm referring to are more or less microcosms. Larger subreddits, or sites like Tildes, SomethingAwful etc. These sites don't have the traffic of HN, but they deal with similar issues at their own scale. Larger sites can and absolutely should apply ideas learned at smaller scales and try to scale them upwards.
edit: Regardless of my thoughts on the site, I'll stop arguing about it and let things hopefully get back on topic.
stories and their headlines have contexts.
Your article has to do with white farmers specifically targeted by the black government of Zimbabwe, literal racism, so the race of the farmers is actually relevant.
I’m all for highlighting achievements. It makes sense to highlight the achievements of those who for varying reasons haven’t had the opportunity.
Yet do don’t always need to do it of course. When you do it’s detrimental to the people you’re trying to highlight.
“Oh, look, Johnny did his homework today, everyone give Johnny a hand”. I’m exaggerating for effect but that’s an undercurrent.
But there may be another, unintentional harm: the harm to the ego of everyone who isn't Johnny. They may feel hurt that their own accomplishments weren't highlighted. They may even try to defend this hurt feeling, by saying something like "So? We did our homework too. Johnny's not special. Don't you care about us?" But the point of the accolade was never to down-play everyone else's achievements; it was merely to recognize Johnny's. But the ego gets in the way, and prevents us from letting someone else have the spotlight. We see ourselves as smaller when our peers are raised higher than us, and this makes us defensive.
Or maybe their race has nothing to do with their actions, and therefore should not be included?
To take the basketball analogy further, "white basketball player makes slam dunk" would be a bad story, because yeah, we know white basketball players can dunk. But "white basketball player becomes all time NBA point leader" would be news-worthy, because it's unusual. What makes a story interesting or unique won't always be dramatic, but it may still be important to highlight.
I don't we should emphasize race in that way, when it's only relevant because "your race is less common in doing this thing". I don't want to see a headline like "white basketball player becomes all time NBA point leader". The race isn't important in that way.
That kind of thinking is what led to the self-fulfilling prophecy of slavery and racism against black people in the Americas in the first place -- the idea that they are less capable and it would therefore be surprising if they achieved something that the white man finds commonplace.
If you've grown up all your life hearing the first bias, you may believe it. And then suddenly you see a story that refutes that bias, and you realize that actually, maybe the bias was wrong. Maybe it shouldn't be weird that this certain kind of person can do this certain kind of thing. It can take a lot of examples over a long period of time, but it works.
Countering the bias requires examples, and you have to actually publish those examples. If you never have stories that counter the bias, people literally just keep believing the bias. If in the 18th century nobody had ever put out stories about freedmen starting businesses, nobody would have believed that a freedman was capable of doing business. They needed those stories published just to change how people thought. That's the purpose of "black man becomes beekeeper" stories - to change perceptions, a little bit at a time.
That kind of story is useless if it's about something that everybody already knows and believes, but it's incredibly valuable if it fights a bias. This is the reason you don't see "white man becomes beekeeper" stories - we already know white people can be beekeepers. We don't all know the opposite. (If this sounds dumb, yes, I agree... but that's literally the kind of bias many people have, and this is how to counter it)
If you want to email email@example.com and commit to posting thoughtful, substantive comments and following the site guidelines, we'd be happy to reset it for you.
This is not pseudoscience -- unlike many of the other comments on GMOs and hormones. It's backed by research and the FDA.
Tell me where I'm wrong.
New low for Hacker News.
If people feel like that word in the title is essential to its content, I have zero problem with that. What we have a problem with is threads that fly off into ragey and shallow disputes about titles. Such discussion requires zero thought and zero effort—only reactivity. All people do when they argue like that—on whatever side of whatever issue—is angrily repeat things that have been angrily repeated before. That's not what HN is for. When we see signs of it happening, we've learned that the easiest thing to do is just change the title to reflect the actual content of the article. Unfortunately in this case the attempted cure produced more of the disease. That happens sometimes. In that case we change it back and plead with people to talk about the article instead.
Please talk about the article instead now.
Painting it as something the moderation team systematically does is disingenuous.
"I've never seen it" is a poor metric for making general claims about moderation. People see and remember only what stands out to them, and what stands out is determined by their pre-existing views. That's why the general claims people make about HN moderation are so starkly contradictory. If there's one mechanical, utterly reliable phenomenon I've learned about from moderating HN, that's the one.
It's the title of the original post on the HuffPost.
It’s ... the point under discussion in this sub-thread.
> 1. the color of the beekeepers' skin is irrelevant and appears to have been an addition made by the poster
It isn't an addition at all, regardless of our comfort.
The reason this title has "Black" in it is it's part of a HuffPost column called Black Voices; literally stories concerning African Americans. And the beekeepers noted here are indeed black. And I don't know if many of you know this, but there aren't that many black beekeepers out there.
The fact that the beekeepers are black is germane to the column and the story. Removing that from the title is erasing an achievement of a local black community. I think another commenter on here was spot on: someone on HN removed the "Black"ness from the story because it made them uncomfortable.
Can a mod please restore the original title?
> someone on HN removed the "Black"ness from the story because it made them uncomfortable
That was me, and it didn't and doesn't make me the least uncomfortable. What does make me uncomfortable: people jumping to conclusions and accusing us of ugly motivations based on a made-up interpretation of almost zero information. Internet users have no compunction about doing that, and there's a kind of widespread implicit agreement to pretend that it's cost free. It's far from cost free.
1) You're a moderator - literally a person with more power than everyone else. People tend to get upset around the decisions of people more powerful than them, and jump to conclusions. It has happened in every single organization I have ever seen, including freaking yoga studios. It's on page 1 of your job description. So while I have sympathy for you, I don't have pity.
2) Sharing more detail about your changes can make a huge difference to the people that are affected by them. It may not always make people happy, but often a lack of understanding creates frustration. I appreciate the information you added after the fact, and suggest to add these details with your initial changes.
3) I don't know why you made the original change. Perhaps you didn't realize where the story came from, and just wanted to avoid any conflict at all, and so erased whatever seemed like it might generate controversy. But in doing so, you generated controversy. Like I mentioned multiple times in my comments, it appeared that the change was racially motivated ("Unless I missed something ...", "If true, ..."), even if unintentional, as a side-effect of trying to avoid a difficult discussion. And I may have been wrong, and made an unfair accusation. For that I apologize. But it turns out that the motivation didn't matter at all, because the effect was the same regardless of intent.
4) Sometimes we need to have difficult discussions. Yes, even on the fantasy land called HN, where the real world doesn't happen, and all that exists are interesting stories about technology. In this case, the really interesting discussion is not about beehives, it's about the way people interpret what they read, and how they act based on that. As one example, people may see a word that signals in them an unacceptable idea or scenario and jump to conclusions. For another, it's possible for someone to completely unintentionally have a negative effect on a minority community without even realizing it; which is a really important thing to realize, face, and learn from, but that most people in such a position won't want to accept. And another is that sometimes something that could cause a flame war might be there for a good reason, and people may need to learn to deal with it (as we used to say growing up, "like adults").
What could have been a flame war is (to me) a very important lesson about personal bias, how people interpret the world around them, and the effect they have on others. I'm saving this article as a favorite story to remind myself.
Look. Every demographic that does conspicuously well in an avocation has role models and mentors that children and young adults can identify with, from hard sciences (Feynman comments on this I think as far back as the 70's) to professional cycling.
If it seems childish, recall the target audience. Then take a deep breath, and relax.
2) Disappointing article. No depth at all. How is the money spent? How many bees are there? Where does one get bees? Are there flowers around for the bees? How did this person get into beekeeping? Why beekeeping and not, say, an organic garden?
3) Disappointing site - tons of flashing banners and ads everywhere.
What sounds like an awesome, uplifting story that may be replicate-able across the country was turned into an overall disappointing puff piece.