Detroit, the Motor CIty, the home of Motown, “The D”. An intimidating topic to write about because most people have already formed an opinion about the city. Detroit’s fall from grace is a well known fact throughout the country and the city continues to be defined by the type of information that is made public: what Detroit can’t do and the many ways that the city has failed. This particular excerpt from an article I read, while perhaps a little dramatic, highlights the lack of faith in a struggling city:
“Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was a teeming metropolis of 1.8 million people and it had the highest per capita income in the United States. Now it is a rotting, decaying hellhole of about 700,000 people that the rest of the world makes jokes about.” (Snyder, 2013).
Wow, hellhole? Although I would use different descriptors, what he goes on to say, and what other journalists have said has some merit. Detroit has very significant problems to work through. A poor education system, a high illiteracy rate, thousands of derelict houses and buildings, a high crime rate, underfunded and understaffed response units, and the big elephant in the city- bankruptcy. If it sounds likes we’ve hit rock bottom you’re probably right, but that means that we can only go up from here right?
As a resident of Detroit, it’s frustrating to hear people refer to this city as “ominous” or that it’s a “shell of it’s former self”. Well, to keep up with that analogy I will say that inside every shell is something beautiful waiting to be born, and Detroit is ready to break out. Walking down Woodward towards Campus Martius, you can feel the energy and see the effort put forth by local businesses, new and old. Here it is no longer a ghost town, but a vibrant scene of professionals walking to work or to the park to grab a quick bite. The gardens set the stage for what will be a relaxing afternoon for friends having coffee by the fountain. A little further north on Adams St. spring is in full swing, and by that I mean the Tigers are back in action bringing with them the charged atmosphere of thousands of fans. Detroit may not be as populated as it once was, but on game days the city is overflowing with the most loyal fans who know that to invest in the city is to invest in options for it’s future. A bit east, over the highway is Russell St. and home to Eastern Market. Thousands of people flock to this historic market every weekend to treat themselves to a sensory wonderland. Fresh produce, quality meats, locally made specialty products, and of course row upon row of fragrant flowers, are just some of what one can expect to find at the Market. It’s a place where folks from all around visit to get a real feel of Detroit, and they walk away not only satisfied, but wanting to return.
These are just a few examples of what makes this city worthy of more positive media attention. This is what I want people to know so that the next time I tell someone I live in Detroit I don’t get the, “Oh,” accompanied by a look of shock mixed with pity. This city has a certain feel to it, kind of like when you know that winter is over and spring is finally here. It’s a feeling that I would encourage people to experience because it’s engaging and energizing. I had to experience it before I could change my view of the city enough to call it home. I can say that it was worth it and I am proud to live in the city of Detroit.
Here are a few articles with a positive outlook on Detroit:
Snyder, M. 25 Facts About the Fall of Detroit That Will Leave you Shaking Your Head. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://www.theeconomiccollapseblog.com.