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Old 05-07-2008, 07:07 AM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,228,310 times
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There is a stable working class in Detroit, not a stable middle class. As you pointed out, many African Americans in the middle class leave for the suburbs. The jobs are in the suburbs and the places people shop are there. Fortunately, the entertainment is beginning to focus downtown, but a transit system cannot survive on that alone.

I hope you're right.
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Tokyo
156 posts, read 519,292 times
Reputation: 49
Let me start by saying that it has been very refreshing to see the constructive posts on this thread regardless of point of view - none of the oversimplified and unhelpful "Detroit $ucks" or "Detroit's great" posts that seem to plague many threads here.

It is interesting to see the posts accusing people of not being from here or just being scared suburbanites. These aspersions have proved not to be true, but the comments themselves interest me. Detroit's "unique situation" as stated by some here is largely due to the lack of new blood arriving here. There is a lot of baggage and resentment on both sides of the fence. It is understandable if regrettable. Several have said that the middle class suburbanites have to be convinced of Detroit's viability for anything to improve but that is a near impossible task. I think I agree. I work downtown and the vast majority of my colleagues live elsewhere, most in Oakland county. They also grew up in the area and have basically been convinced by their parents to stay away (most are too young to actually remember the riots, busing, Coleman Young etc. etc.), without ever checking things out for themselves. And in spite of my being a relatively newcomer to the area, I'm regarded around the office as a sort of semi-expert on what to do and where to eat in Detroit. I find it truly astounding that young professionals working in a city are happy to live in a suburb, especially when said city is relatively cheap. I don't think you see that anywhere else in the country and possibly the world. Urbanization is the trend everywhere else. Even traditional sprawl cities such as Atlanta are now attracting people to live in the downtown areas. Detroit is not devoid of gentrifying influx, but it lags far behind many cities.

My point is, perhaps what Detroit needs most is non-natives who don't carry any historical baggage with them. All the great cities out there are "destination" cities - people aspire to be there and there is a constant inflow of outsiders. If local suburbanites can't be convinced to take the train downtown, maybe the availability of good public transportation will attract outsiders new to the city. If at some point those outsiders reach a critical mass and start revitalizing the city, then maybe some of the younger suburban folks will come back, though they may miss out on the good deals to be had sooner in the gentrification process. I agree, though, that downtown to eight mile is not the best idea. Maybe if there was a large, well lit and guarded park and ride at the 8 mile terminus some people could be convinced to leave their cars there and ride to the office or the ballgame, but it probably won't happen to the extent necessary to justify such a line.

Being a denizen of the city, the topic of revitalizing the city has come up countless times among my fellow downtown dwellers. One or two of them have even suggested that things are fine as is, sort of a best kept secret for those of us in the know. I agree to an extent. Maybe attempts at revitalization are a wasted effort. Those who are here by choice seem to enjoy it, and there is a certain reverse snobbishness among this fairly tight-knit community for having discovered this fun and interesting city that only they know about.
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Detroit
8 posts, read 20,890 times
Reputation: 11
Business leaders agree Detroit needs mass transit.
Ferchill: Change Detroit image (http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080507/BIZ/805070340 - broken link)
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:41 AM
 
1,039 posts, read 3,139,920 times
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"My point is, perhaps what Detroit needs most is non-natives who don't carry any historical baggage with them."

But why will they come with so many "bully in the sandbox" mentalities here? After living here for several years, I think the most overlooked culprit preventing the revitalization of Detroit is a large, vocal, blue collar segment, that just happens to be white. I'm sick of reading all the "go south of 16 Mile Rd at your own risk" and "all Detroit blacks are gangbangers and are getting what they deserve" threads by this ignorant bunch.

Read the "how bad is the MI economy really getting?" thread. You basically have a bunch of blue-collar workers ragging on a newcomer for having the nerve to move to MI for a good paying job. This newcomer is "stealing" a job from a Michigander, according to this ignorant viewpoint. Never mind the fact that the newcomer is educated and imminently more qualified. How dare someone from out of state get educated, come here, and do well for themselves! We cry about educated Michigan grads leaving for Chicago and other places, but somehow someone getting a degree from out-of-state and helping to drive the economy here is an unwelcomed thief?

When you think about it, things haven't changed all that much from the early 80s when Vincent Chin was beat up for taking jobs away from a "deserving" native Michigander (never mind that Chin was Chinese, not Japanese, and the closest "native" Michiganders we have are Chips and other AI tribes).
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:38 PM
 
955 posts, read 1,984,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usroute10 View Post
UpperPeninsulaRon and Bluefly are thinking in one paradigm - that current suburbanites will never, ever move to the neighborhoods of Detroit, and will only come to the city to go to its downtown area.

This is my paradigm - that light-rail will encourage those suburbanites and (the few) people moving into the region to live along the Woodward corridor and for those who are entrepreneurs, to establish businesses near it or in the downtown area. Or if a large corporation recognizes that many of its employees live in the downtown area or along the Woodward corridor, they might be compelled to relocate from the suburbs.
Hey, I love thinking outside of the box. So here is my plan.

Throw out the old concentric zone theory. We will use UPR's outside in theory.

I start with a circular enterprise zone about a mile and a half deep starting at about Six Mile and heading downtown. I now have created a housing zone where the is still a lot of good homes (basically the Outer Drive Circle) north of the business ring. The enterprise ring attracts jobs and the homes north of the ring becomes attractive. I then build a rail running (God forbid!) around the ring with a spur going up Woodward into the suburbs. This phase takes about ten years.

Next, I have another enterprise ring going from about Grand Blvd. going toward downtown. See, I have preserved many of the great New Center homes. More jobs in the ring, and more people move into the space between the two rings.

I build lower / middle cost housing at the edges of the housing rings. I know there may be objections to this, but, hey, it's my plan and keeps everyone happy. Guess what I do next? I build another rail ring going around this housing circle again connecting Woodward north. This takes about eight years (circumfrence = pi * d so less time).

Now the city is on a roll and the space left between the enterprise ring and downtown becomes yuppieland with lower cost housing at the edges.

We then connect downtown last to the rail rings and add spurs now up Gratiot, Michigan, and Grand River.

Chill and serve! Turn the box upside down and you get a new Detroit.
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Detroit
8 posts, read 20,890 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato the Elder View Post
After living here for several years, I think the most overlooked culprit preventing the revitalization of Detroit is a large, vocal, blue collar segment, that just happens to be white. I'm sick of reading all the "go south of 16 Mile Rd at your own risk" and "all Detroit blacks are gangbangers and are getting what they deserve" threads by this ignorant bunch.
I'm tired of this attitude by certain segments of the suburban community too. However, this attitude is not limited to blue color workers.

This segment of people will never move to Detroit and will continue to avoid it whenever possible. Obviously mass transit won't change that for them. However, luckily not everyone who is from the suburbs or from other cities is completely close minded.

I am interested in seeing mass transit here because it will be beneficial for current residents, promote development along those corridors, and add to the quality of life here. I believe that this will eventually help draw people and businesses to the city.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Tokyo
156 posts, read 519,292 times
Reputation: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato the Elder View Post
"My point is, perhaps what Detroit needs most is non-natives who don't carry any historical baggage with them."

But why will they come with so many "bully in the sandbox" mentalities here? After living here for several years, I think the most overlooked culprit preventing the revitalization of Detroit is a large, vocal, blue collar segment, that just happens to be white. I'm sick of reading all the "go south of 16 Mile Rd at your own risk" and "all Detroit blacks are gangbangers and are getting what they deserve" threads by this ignorant bunch.

Read the "how bad is the MI economy really getting?" thread. You basically have a bunch of blue-collar workers ragging on a newcomer for having the nerve to move to MI for a good paying job. This newcomer is "stealing" a job from a Michigander, according to this ignorant viewpoint. Never mind the fact that the newcomer is educated and imminently more qualified. How dare someone from out of state get educated, come here, and do well for themselves! We cry about educated Michigan grads leaving for Chicago and other places, but somehow someone getting a degree from out-of-state and helping to drive the economy here is an unwelcomed thief?

When you think about it, things haven't changed all that much from the early 80s when Vincent Chin was beat up for taking jobs away from a "deserving" native Michigander (never mind that Chin was Chinese, not Japanese, and the closest "native" Michiganders we have are Chips and other AI tribes).
I read that thread and you are right. Maybe it isn't politically correct to say this, but another post by you on another thread about "Michitucky" may not be so far off point. The rise of the auto industry brought a huge influx of poor uneducated people, both white and black, from the South (as well as a significant number of immigrants from abroad). And they didn't leave their prejudices back home when they came here. As we all know, race relations in Detroit were not good even in the best of times and now that things have very much gotten worse, the ugly scapegoating gets worse too. All the more reason, I say, to bring in true new blood. The "how bad is MI economy" thread notwithstanding, I think outsiders also appreciate better than many (but not all) locals how good life can be in Michigan. While I may still have a slight bias towards my native New England, I for one love it here. And I would definitely ride a train if there was one! I even use the Peoplemover for transportation every once in a blue moon.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:33 AM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,303,651 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usroute10 View Post
I totally disagree with Cato the Elder, Bluefly, and detshen about ignoring the outlying neighborhoods of Detroit, and just concentrating on the 5 square mile area within the Grand Boulevard Loop.

First of all, about 800,000 or so people still live in the outlying neighborhoods. Are these people so insignficant to you? There are many, many, many unique neighborhoods in varying stages of decay that are worth saving!!!

Here's one reason why they should be saved that you might be able to relate to:

These neighborhoods were built just as walkable, pedestrian-friendly, and urbane as all of those urban suburbs that you mentioned (Royal Oak, Ferndale, Rochester, Berkeley, etc). In fact, 95% of Detroit was built like Ferndale or Berkley (BUT WITH FAR SUPERIOR HOUSING STOCK). If you call those suburbs "urban", then the Detroit neighborhoods are urban as well, and thus are worth saving. They are not as built densely as downtown or midtown, but they are charmingly urban in a small-town kind of way.

What is a fact, is that young suburbanites just don't know the history of the neighborhoods of Detroit and how vibrant their urban commercial districts were, and how charming and walkable these neighborhoods COULD be if invested in.

The following is a link to a thread I started yesterday on another website about the Dexter-Davison neighborhood. Check out the pictures I posted of the rotting apartment buildings in this neighborhood. You'll be hard pressed to find housing like that in Berkeley.

Discuss Detroit: Apt. building demo'ed; Dexter-Davison's steep decline (broken link)
I sure hope I don't consider people in the outlying neighborhoods of Detroit insignificant since I am one of them. My point was that it has to start somewhere. I feel it's better to start with the more visited areas of Detroit where people go for dining and entertainment. We need to get people into the city before the neighborhoods have any chance.
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Old 05-10-2008, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Detroit
8 posts, read 20,890 times
Reputation: 11
The way I see it the days of driving an hour and a half each way to work are dead. The far out suburbs cease to be livable for people who work in the city with high fuel prices and no transit.

an article about people switching to mass transit
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/10/bu...IQEs7Qw6fKrKNA
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:02 AM
 
955 posts, read 1,984,105 times
Reputation: 401
Default Ann Arbor Detroit Commuter Rail

The latest article on the subject:

3 cities look to land key train stop | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press (http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080512/NEWS05/805120367 - broken link)
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