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Old 06-07-2013, 03:28 PM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,286,222 times
Reputation: 2357

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As a child, my grandfather worked for Chrysler. When I was very little, we visited the grandparents in Sterling Heights. When he became an exec, they bought a house in Grosse Pointe. I am in my 30s, so this was some time ago.

I remember going with them to museums and cultural events in the city and really enjoying it. I never gave a whole lot of thought to Detroit, other than these memories and some layovers as an adult in what seems to be a very nice airport.

The other night I was watching TV and came across a goofy "extreme" reality show about a pawn shop in 8 Mile Rd. I flipped the channels and caught an old episode of Animal Cops where they were rescuing puppies used as dogfighting bait. Now, I know that cable TV is not the be-all end all of accurate depictions, but I started really to wonder-- what is going on in Detroit? Can some locals weigh in on the current state of the city? I know this is a big, complicated question, but I am curious to hear from some local perspective.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:42 PM
 
2,952 posts, read 4,177,120 times
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Basically it's lost an unbelievable amount of population and has, at every conceivable level, as challenging infrastructure problems as a municipality could have, from the poverty rate to its finances to the now world-famous blight that appears poised to--as bad as it is--to get worse as the neighborhoods continue to empty out.

At the same time parts of the downtown area are greatly improving at a pretty impressive pace.

In a sense it's what happened to a lot of American cities but taken to an utterly extreme level... and as much progress as there has been downtown, there is still quite a bit of work to do. But I would say there is a positive energy around a lot of the new developments that could go a very long way.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Huntington Woods, MI
1,742 posts, read 3,472,321 times
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I don't think a what happened to Detroit thread has ever been posed on this forum.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:50 PM
 
808 posts, read 2,147,872 times
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Read Thomas Sugrue's The Origins of the Urban Crisis. It's probably the best explanation for the fall of Detroit.

Hard to really capture in a few words but basically the confluence of racism, de-industrialization, municipal corruption, and government funded/encouraged suburbanization bore down on what was, at one point, the 4th largest city in the country.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:17 PM
 
Location: On the brink of WWIII
21,093 posts, read 23,930,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scolls View Post
I don't think a what happened to Detroit thread has ever been posed on this forum.
I am so glad this is finally being asked. MAy be we can figure out what happened once and for all.
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:32 PM
 
1,453 posts, read 1,870,578 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zthatzmanz28 View Post
I am so glad this is finally being asked. MAy be we can figure out what happened once and for all.
Me thinks the poster is being a lil sacastic...
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:41 AM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,286,222 times
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Yeah, I got that. In fairness, I did search before posting.
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:11 PM
 
5,555 posts, read 6,990,054 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gameguy56 View Post

Hard to really capture in a few words but basically the confluence of racism, de-industrialization, municipal corruption, and government funded/encouraged suburbanization bore down on what was, at one point, the 4th largest city in the country.

What major city in the US did not experience the above?
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:23 AM
 
7,238 posts, read 10,904,248 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ram2 View Post
What major city in the US did not experience the above?
No major city experienced the above to the extent that Detroit did.

And before you bring up the usual culprits of St. Louis and Cleveland, read the quoted post below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanHamez View Post
Although the devastation of Detroit and the plight of St. Louis superficially appear to be similar, they actually are incomparable in scale and severity. Detroit, being previously of a much larger population and contained in a larger land area has much larger portions of blight compared to St. Louis. The housing stock of Detroit has been largely of wood construction so that homes became irretrievably damaged after a few decades of abandonment. St. Louis housing stock, being mostly brick and stone housing from the Victorian era, has better "bones" and much of the vacant housing can wait decades and even a century for renovations and still be functional. I live in a 1908 townhome in St. Louis and I could easily see how this place could last for another century. Although vacant lots exist, St. Louis has not undergone the large scale urban demolition that Detroit has because most of its homes are not "too far gone." Given future population growth, most of these homes and neighborhoods can be reoccupied, renovated, and be fully functional for extraordinarily low cost. For example, some homes in my neighborhood that sold for not over a thousand dollars just two decades ago are worth half a million now and this continues to happen neighborhood to neighborhood all over town. St. Louis has a much more diversified economy and unemployment here is almost half that of detroit. There are significant finance, energy, healthcare, R&D, and even media industry in town. If you look at the St. Louis area, downtown has doubled in population over the last few years and redevelopment projects are being announced nearly every week. The largest county, St. Louis County, population has been stable because there is no more land to develop but in the counties further out such as St. Charles, there is still rapid growth.
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,836 posts, read 17,340,243 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scolls View Post
I don't think a what happened to Detroit thread has ever been posed on this forum.
Somewhere in the thousands of pages of PhD dissertations, history books, shockumentaries, Facebook memes, awful Hollywood films, Chrysler ads and iPhone videos lies the answer. Let me know what you guys find.

I think the movie that personifies Detroit the best is Four Brothers, with Mark Wahlberg in it. Yeah, it was hard to type that with a straight face.
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