In 1958, Lansing decided to construct highway 496 through the center of their city. Like many cities before them, and many after, it was seen as a pathway to success. These highways often cut through low income neighborhoods, a factor complicated by racial segregation. In Lansing, this effectively severed all of the south side neighborhoods from the city center.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Monday, November 1, 2021
Lansing Area Free Stands: A network of Lansing-area volunteers manage stands of free produce, boxed goods and hygiene products. For more information or to become a volunteer, you can join their Facebook group.
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
This Tuesday, August 3rd, Lansing voters held primaries for mayor and city council and voted on various proposals.
The mayoral race this year is flush with talent. Andy Schor seeks re-election but was also challenged by two former city council members and other local activists.
Defeating an incumbent is always a challenge no matter how you slice it; let's look at the votes by the numbers. This year voters went about 49% for Schor, 51% against. In many places, including central Lansing, voters preferred other candidates. Schor has a stronghold in Moores River Drive (his neighborhood) and Groesbeck.
However, just because Schor didn't carry the most votes doesn't mean he will lose in the general on November 2nd. The areas in which Schor's opponents did well do not overlap; a coalition would be necessary to unseat our mayor.
Below is an overview of how Schor and the top three challengers performed.
Thank you and congratulations to all the hard-working candidates. See you all in November!
Sunday, March 28, 2021
As vaccine eligibility in Michigan opens up, one website has implemented a creative solution to the often frustrating and chaotic attempts to find a vaccine appointment.
The Michigan COVID-19 Vaccine spotter is a tool to help track down COVID-19 vaccine appointment openings at your local pharmacies. It automatically scans many pharmacy websites and shows any available appointments minute by minute.
If you are eligible under Michigan's guidelines you can quickly find a location in your area. Currently all Michiganders aged 16 and older with medical conditions or disabilities are eligible, and all Michiganders age 16 and up are eligible starting April 5.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
When I was in sixth grade social studies, my teacher told us that streets always go east and west, and avenues always go north and south. Many cities have that system, but not every city does: by convention, Manhattan has avenues running north-south and streets running east-west, but the opposite is true in places like Denver where streets run north-south and avenues run east-west. Other cities do it in other ways: Washington, DC, famously has avenues cutting diagonals across the city. Tuscon has "stravenues" that fulfill that function. Generally, cities will have avenues intersecting streets, and I was curious about how Lansing's roads were named.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
On August 4th, 2020, the port city of Beirut experienced two large explosions, tragically hamstringing its people and infrastructure. Using data publicly available on OpenStreetMap, we can imagine what an equivalent explosion would have been like in our area.
Within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of the blast, buildings were all but destroyed, leaving a crater. If the explosion had happened at our capitol building, nearly 1,100 buildings, many residential, would have been leveled in the blast. In Beirut, almost 200 people were tragically killed.
Within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of the epicenter, windows were blown out and facades destroyed. Pieces of buildings caused more damage and injuries as the heat and movement carried debris out from the city center. If the explosion had happened in Lansing, over 35,000 buildings could have experienced some kind of damage, including most Lansing neighborhoods.
Within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of the epicenter, people felt aftershocks and saw smoke rising into the sky. People as far as Okemos, Holt, Dewitt and, Waverly would be able to see the damage and feel the blast.
Lansing is much larger than Beirut in terms of area, but has one third of the people; the population of the city of Beirut is much more concentrated in a smaller space than Lansing, making the destruction more devastating.
The United States has promised financial support although we have not committed an amount yet. Consider a donation to an organization like Doctors Without Borders that is doing work on the ground in the affected areas.
Friday, July 10, 2020
So begins the Economic Innovation Group's May 2020 report on urban neighborhoods in the United States.
Lansing metro is among the areas analyzed--the report maps our city in terms of its change in poverty rates comparing a range of dates, including 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2018. On the original EIG site, you can click a tract to see the rates for various years.
With neighborhood names and landmarks superimposed over the map we can get a clearer picture of which areas are hardest hit. Areas along the Cedar St corridor and north of the highway in the Eastside neighborhoods were already experiencing high rates of poverty in the 80s and have worse rates in the present day. There are some areas that were hit hard by the recession in the 2000s and haven't recovered (Tamarisk, Glencairn, Potter-Walsh); others have been hit by the most recent recession (Creston).
A few cities have seen "turn arounds" and others have seen areas that were in deep poverty both in the 1980s and now. Lansing has neither of those; we've seen some areas stabilize and others fall slightly. Tracts are categorized as newly becoming poor, persistently in poverty, in worse poverty, or having been in poverty but "turned around". Interestingly, nationally, most neighborhoods' conditions worsened, only a small minority were in the "turned around" category.
The entire map, which looks at urban areas around the country is available online here.