Detroit

Can Detroit's Suburbs Survive The City's Rebirth?

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I've written quite a bit about Detroit's recent history, particularly the Motor City of the last ten years -- Kwame Kilpatrick and the aftermath of his corrupt administration, the subsequent bankruptcy and emergence from it, the binding of local government, business and nonprofit forces in creating a new template for leadership, and the very real rebound that Detroit is currently experiencing. Detroit is indeed booming, but it's not growth generated by external forces.  read more »

More on Bifurcating Chicago and Detroit

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(Note: this past Sunday I wrote a 20-tweet (!), 657-word (!!) tweetstorm that was largely a response to some things from about a month ago. Yeah, I can hold onto a grudge. Anyway, here I'm offering an expanded version of the content from that tweetstorm, but also some elaborations that can provide more clarity and nuance. -Pete)  read more »

Chicago, Detroit and the Rust Belt Bifurcated City

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So I got into a rather interesting discussion last week in the comments section of Aaron Renn's Urbanophile website in a piece he wrote about population transformation in Pittsburgh and Chicago. And it led to some, well, interesting points that deserve more comment.  read more »

Detroit -- The Movie

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I guess there was always going to be a difference between the Detroit film I wanted and the Detroit film that was produced.

"Detroit", the new big-budget exploration by director Kathryn Bigelow that goes into the details of one of Motor City's most defining events, came out this weekend to strong critical acclaim but less than outstanding popular success.  read more »

Subjects:

The Precariat Shoppe

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The precariat is a term coined to describe the segment of the population that lives without security or predictability. These days it often refers to the former American middle class that’s currently experiencing reduced circumstances. There’s always been a precariat, but it usually includes a minor subset of the population that no one really likes or cares about. Indentured Irish servants, black slaves, Jewish and Italian sweatshop workers, Mexican field hands, Puerto Rican cleaning ladies… It’s a long list.  read more »

How Does Housing Stock Affect Urban Revitalization?

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The second of Pete Saunders’ nine reasons why Detroit failed is “poor housing stock,” particularly its overweighting towards small, early postwar cottages. Here’s a sample:  read more »

Detroit's Recovery? Oh Yeah, It's Real Alright

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So it seems the debate has begun.  There's been enough progress in Detroit to discuss whether its rebound is for real, or not.

Two academics, Laura Reese of Michigan State University and Gary Sands of Wayne State University, wrote a piece for the Atlantic a couple weeks ago to counter the spreading narrative of Detroit's comeback.  The article notes the Motor City's rebound has caught the attention of the national media and parts of academia, but they aren't so certain that the trend is real, or if it is, whether it's indeed sustainable.  read more »

Detroit’s New Streetlights Show Service Rebuilding in Action

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I’ve been arguing that one thing struggling post-industrial cities need to do is take care of their own business, doing things like addressing legacy liabilities and rebuilding of core public services.

Last week I write about Buffalo doing just this by completely re-writing its zoning code and creating a new land use map of the city to bring its planning ordinances up to date for the 21st century.  read more »

Carrier and the Commonwealth

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I was asked by Fortune to contribute a piece about Trump’s Carrier deal. They had gotten a lot of people criticizing it and were looking for someone who would give a different perspective. I think many of the criticisms are valid in a sense, but miss the larger context. So I wrote the piece which is now online. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

A Capital Improvement and Revitalization Idea for Detroit

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You may have heard that Detroit is in the midst of a modest but enduring revival in and around its downtown. Residents and businesses are returning to the city, filling long-vacant skyscrapers, prompting new commercial development and revitalizing adjacent old neighborhoods. As a former Detroiter I'm excited to see the turnaround. After so many false starts, Detroit's post-bankruptcy rebound seems very real.  read more »