If any city in Southeast Michigan were likely to get on board with the Green New Deal, Highland Park would be it.
Highland Park is largely known for being an economically depressed enclave of Detroit that had its street lights repossessed in 2011 and last high school closed in 2015. But if that’s all you knew about the city, you’d miss everything happening around green and sustainable technologies.
And as WDET recently reported, its city council voted for a resolution in support of the Green New Deal, a package of policies put forward by progressives to aggressively curb carbon emissions and stimulate the economy through sustainable projects.
In an interview with WDET’s Laura Herberg, Highland Park City Council President and Mayor Pro Tem Rodney Patrick talked about the reasons behind the resolution.
“While we are not there yet in terms of the green technology and making sure that we have sustainability in that particular sector,” he said, “one thing that we could do as a city is to make sure that the city-owned buildings and all the locations that we operate out of can be energy sustainable.”
Patrick also spoke about making sure that companies redeveloping in Highland Park adhere to similar standards, children get a “21st century education” in its public school system, and the city becomes a voice in discussions on environmental justice.
Innovative Highland Park-based projects have already been making waves in the green energy movement. The solar energy nonprofit Soulardarity has installed multiple street lights throughout the city and instituted a membership-based, democratic model.
Avalon Village is well on its way to building a sustainable eco-village with all kinds of resources for adults and kids. And Parker Village is doing something similar but taking the concept even further with urban farming, geothermal energy, rainwater collection, and more. Both Avalon and Parker villages have installed Soulardarity street lights.
Because Highland Park has become an incubator for cutting edge ideas in green technology, it even hosted an all-day Energy, Sustainability & Tech Fair last summer.
Though Highland Park has a long way to come, its early adoption of these technologies is encouraging.