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The Decline of Detroit

  1. Sep 23, 2009 #1
    I grew up around Detroit, so I keep tabs on things back home. Recently I came across a Time article that begins like so..

    Sounds exactly like Detroit, right? I know I was thinking what you are, until I looked at the date

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,873465,00.html

    I have ties to Detroit but I was forced to leave due to the economic situation. I think it's truly sad how far Detroit has declined in the last few years, will likely continue to decline. It seems like history has a way of repeating itself. I have to vwonder if there is salvation for this region in my lifetime.
     
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  3. Sep 23, 2009 #2

    SpaceTiger

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    At least the Tigers will make the playoffs... probably.
     
  4. Sep 23, 2009 #3

    Moonbear

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    The decline of Detroit has been going on for more than just a few years. I lived near there almost 10 years ago now, back when the economy everywhere else was still booming, and Detroit seemed like a deteriorating slum even then. Actually, I never went all the way to the proper downtown part of Detroit, because the areas I started passing on the way just scared me too much to keep going in that direction, and I decided to turn around and get out. They looked like war zones, with shells of abandoned cars lining the roads, graffiti everywhere, run down buildings.

    My boyfriend did go into downtown for one of the car shows, and confirmed that it was one of the more dismal downtowns he's seen...nothing to do there aside from the convention, and no decent public transportation to get anywhere else either. After he spent a long weekend there, he commented, "No wonder you hated living in MI!"

    Maybe the problem is that those who live there don't notice the problems because they are used to being around it, and those who move there are so horrified they move away quickly, and visitors don't bother returning. Even when the economy was good, they were struggling with laying off police because their budgets were already overspent. Major overhauls of infrastructure were needed, but nobody was doing anything to get it done.
     
  5. Sep 23, 2009 #4

    Astronuc

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    I spent some time in St. Joseph when I had some projects with Consumers Power and their Palisades NPP. The contrast between St. Joseph and Benton Harbor was astounding, and that was about 18 years ago. It was sad to see then so many factories/plants closed.

    I think it reflects the broader de-industrialization of the US, which I see as a major factor contributing to the current economic situation.
     
  6. Sep 23, 2009 #5

    Monique

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    I lived in the city for several years on the campus of Wayne State University, where I walked/biked everyday from the main campus to the medical campus. Everyday was an adventure, which really makes you appreciate what you've got. It's really sad that the city is in such a state. When I left in 2003 I thought it was on the rise since they were investing a lot to clean out the downtown area, but I guess the city must be in a much worse state right now.

    I did spend a lot of time in the downtown/midtown area, visiting the Greek town, the University theaters, the Institute of Arts, or the Opera house (just to name a few) so I don't agree that there was nothing to do. I did have a really good time there and look back with fond memories.

    What are they going to do with the city now? Are they still tearing down the abandoned buildings and changing those plots into farmland, I thought that was a wonderful idea and something what the city really needed (for people to start providing for themselves, growing their own food).
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  7. Sep 23, 2009 #6

    JasonRox

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    I don't know if anyone noticed but the date on the article says 1961.

    Anyways, in Canada, Detroit is well-known to be a no-go city.
     
  8. Sep 23, 2009 #7
    I live 30 minutes north of Detroit and I know it as a no-go city. Honestly, some parts like near Ford Field, Comerica Park, and Greek Town are survivable I still don't ever have the desire to go down there. If I get free tickets to a tigers game or something I might go there but I'm out as soon as the games over.

    The city has a lot more problems then its economy. Everything about the city is corrupt. The last mayer (who was elected TWICE!) was a crook and a murderer, not to mention the entire city council is out to line there pockets breaking which ever law they please. The water system is completely mismanaged along with most other utilities. The crime rate is off the charts and thats considering that probably about half the crimes don't get reported. The reason they cut back the police force wasn't necessarily because of budget reasons but more because Killpatrick is a douche bag. I could go on for hours but I'll just say that Michigan would be a better place if a wall was build around detroit and it was allowed to die.
     
  9. Sep 23, 2009 #8

    JasonRox

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    And similarly for Buffalo too. It's not as bad, but I only go there for hockey and lacross, and the occasional shopping cause the border rarely taxes you if you're honest about your purchases.

    Never in my life did I ever think of going to Detroit. Not even for a Wings game. I would sell the tickets I bet.

    The article stated that the population seemed around 1.8 million at one point and it is currently sitting at like 900 000 right now. That tells me something VERY wrong is going on there. Must be filled with abandoned buildings, which by looking at Buffalo, it's an ugly sight.

    But when I do go to Buffalo, I act like myself. All my friends act all scared it's so weird. Or they always get paranoid about crossing the border. I peeled out once while passing the inspection (1st day driving standard... don't ask). I met some residents and they basically thought I was from there too (not all of them have the accent... I notice it's the less educated ones that have it the worse).
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  10. Sep 23, 2009 #9
    That was the point of my post.. it's like Deja-vu, because it read like it was printed a few weeks ago.

    I've worked downtown and spent a lot of time in the cultural areas, and there are decent parts of Detroit(greektown, DIA, Science Center, Fox Theatre). But a series of corrupt mayors has done this city it (Coleman Young anyone?) The only decent mayor, Dennis Archer, gave up and washed his hands of the city.

    Here's a photo essay on Detroit: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1864272_1810098,00.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  11. Sep 23, 2009 #10

    FredGarvin

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    Detroit is trying, but it is an impossible task with complete incompetence around every corner. It seems like daily we see news stories about some form of Detroit city government that is being investigated for some illegal activities. The sad thing is is that nothing usually comes out of it. I am waiting with great anticipation to see what happens to Monica Conyers (as one example). The level of corruption in Detroit is astounding. Even Detroit's Public School system was corrupt. They have a state appointed leader now who appears to be doing his best to clean it up. You should see the stories of how people have been swindling the city in the DPS system.

    Moonbear is right in that the city has been dying for a long time though. Recently the city hit the slippery slope and is descending fast. Coleman Young, who was mayor for, what seemed like, forever, did his best to instill corruption and line his pockets. The exodus started with Coleman Young and hasn't stopped. There is almost a racial war in that Detroit refuses to accept that it needs the surrounding suburbs for support. But that doesn't go over very well because in Detroit lingo suburbs="rich, white people." It's disgusting.

    The hulks of what were once beautiful buildings all over really makes you ill. Detroit does need to just die away.

    I did find something that gives a glimpse into what Detroit used to be like around WWII days. It's worth a look through, especially if you live here:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2420887/Enjoy-Detroit-1947 [Broken]
     
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  12. Sep 23, 2009 #11

    FredGarvin

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    It's way worse than it was back then.
     
  13. Sep 23, 2009 #12
    Being from the Detroit area (but now live in DC) I can understand a lot of what has been said. You don't really need to be as afraid of it as you are though. If you're downtown you'll be fine.

    One of the problems I've always seen (besides the politics) is that there really isn't much reason to go to Detroit. People from the suburbs go downtown for a sporting event, MAYBE stick around a little bit before or after and hit a bar and/or casino, and then go back home. Detroit Science Center is a nice place, so is the Detroit Institute of Art, but how often are you going to go to either of those?

    They have/are making some good attempts to draw people back to live in the city but what is the benefit? Riverfront apartments might be OK for young single people who work downtown but no family in their right mind would move to the city. The schools are horrible!

    As mentioned before, there is little public transportation. The People Mover does a small loop around downtown but in reality you can easily walk to any of these places. Buses, eh. At one point there was talk of having light rail along Woodward to go out to the suburbs. Doubt that will happen though due to budget.

    The list could easily go on

    Saw this today too: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1160513/index.htm [Broken]

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Sep 23, 2009 #13

    Monocerotis

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    When American car manufacturers stopped caring about making good cars and put more effort into designing parts that would deteriorate faster so you would have to replace them more often, people got fed up and started buying Honda's and Toyota's.
     
  15. Sep 23, 2009 #14
    From what I've heard from my friends that live there, since hosting the Super Bowl it's cleaned up a lot.
     
  16. Sep 23, 2009 #15

    FredGarvin

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    The super bowl helped a bit because they made an effort to clean up abandoned buildings and trash. That is only a fraction of what needs to be done.

    It's not horrible to go down and see a Wings game and get something to eat. But like it was said, how often does one do that? Not very.
     
  17. Sep 23, 2009 #16

    BobG

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    Yes, but it's not unique. Of the ten largest cities in the US in 1950, eight have declined in population. Detroit, Cleveland, St Louis, (and Buffalo, even though it wasn't in the top 10 in 1950) have less than half the population they had in 1950. While those are huge, just about every city in the "Rust Belt" had declined significantly in population (20 to 50 percent).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largest_cities_in_the_United_States_by_population_by_decade#2000

    Cities in Western New York are typical for entire region: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/pop_trends.pdf

    Top Ten in 1950:
    1) New York City
    2) Chicago
    3) Philadelphia
    4) Los Angeles
    5) Detroit
    6) Baltimore
    7) Cleveland
    8) St Louis
    9) Washington
    10) Boston

    Top Ten in 2007 (estimated)
    1) New York City
    2) Los Angeles
    3) Chicago (in spite of a 22% decline from 1950)
    4) Houston
    5) Phoenix
    6) Philadelphia (30% decline from 1950)
    7) San Antonio
    8) San Diego
    9) Dallas
    10) San Jose


    If you go by metropolitan area (2008) to take into consideration suburbs:
    1) New York City (19 million)
    2) Los Angeles (13 million)
    3) Chicago (9.5 million)
    4) Dallas (6.3 million)
    5) Philadelphia (5.8 million)
    6) Houston (5.7 million)
    7) Miami (5.4 million)
    8) Atlanta (5.4 million)
    9) Washington (5.4 million)
    10) Boston (4.5 million)

    More telling is the population growth since 2000. Detroit, Pittsburg, Cleveland, and Buffalo are 4 of the 5 metropolitan areas in the top 50 to lose population since 2000 (New Orleans having had the highest percentage drop in population thanks to a devastating hurricane). You go beyond the top 50, all of the metro areas experiencing losses are from the same region of the country.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_metropolitan_statistical_areas_by_population
     
  18. Sep 23, 2009 #17
    I've worked downtown, went shopping in greektown, see games at cobo and been to the DIA and Science Center. It's been livable up until the current economic crisis. Not great, but livable. The problem was that Detroit never diversified, and not that the one trick pony has folded, it's go nowhere else to turn.

    The saddest part about Detroit is the lack of racial harmony, which Eminem was dead on with.. you might as well put a fence up running the length of 8 mile and a sign that says "whites only" pointing north. There's a lot of truth to that.
     
  19. Sep 23, 2009 #18

    George Jones

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    I've eaten and shopped in Greektown, seen stuff at Cobo, gone to Wings games at Joe Louis, gone to a blues festival at Hart Plaza, been to the DIA many times, been to the Science Center, seen the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, been to John K King Books, etc.
     
  20. Sep 23, 2009 #19

    mheslep

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    Region is not the only correlation, long term monolithic political control is also high correlated with cities in the worst shape or decline. Buffalo has had Democratic mayors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mayors_of_Buffalo,_New_York" [Broken].
     
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  21. Sep 24, 2009 #20

    Monique

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    The only thing I didn't do there is get my drivers license. I did get my learners permit twice (in the New Center), but I was just too nervous to take lessons. First of all because of the road conditions and second of all, what kind of a drivers school would you get downtown?
     
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