by Kaid Benfield, via NRDC’s Switchboard
As almost everyone knows, Detroit is a city with some serious problems. But, as I have written before, it’s more complicated than some pundits allow: while it is true that the central city has been famously ”shrinking,” its suburbs have actually been growing in recent decades. Looking at Detroit the region rather than Detroit the central city, the situation is still far from rosy, but not as dramatically dire as some suggest.
I find it nothing short of tragic that so many people are writing off the city’s prospects - and concentrating mainly on how to adapt to a decline of population and economic activity that they believe is essentially permanent – when the region has been expanding. Hollowed-out centers accompanied by sprawl on the fringe are horrible for the environment and for people. The last thing we should be doing is institutionalizing that pattern.
Urban thinker Richard Florida has a more optimistic view. Writing in Atlantic Cities, he notes that things in the Motor City may be more promising than most people think:
“We’ve all read the story of Detroit’s downfall by now. Once a booming hub for automotive manufacturing and a center for technological innovation, the ...