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The future of Detroit

Today’s New York Times has an op-ed written by Toby Barlow on people moving to Detroit. Yesterday I linked to a photo essay that illustrates Detroit’s decline. The op-ed talks about Detroit’s possible rise.

Creative people who don’t want to have to worry about money have always flocked to places that are under severe economic distress. Go read Ed Ward’s old blog BerlinBites for stories of the artistic community that arose in Berlin after Germany’s reunification. People also flocked to Buenos Aires when Argentina’s economy collapsed in 1999.

Detroit is losing population rapidly, and the industries that built the city are unlikely to ever return. However, it’s a major American city where you can live incredibly cheaply. That’s an opportunity. Here’s the conclusion of the op-ed:

In a way, a strange, new American dream can be found here, amid the crumbling, semi-majestic ruins of a half-century’s industrial decline. The good news is that, almost magically, dreamers are already showing up. Mitch and Gina have already been approached by some Germans who want to build a giant two-story-tall beehive. Mitch thinks he knows just the spot for it.

1 Comment

  1. After reading about this a few days ago its still in my head. 500 for a house? What could property taxes be per year 15.00? With some money in the bank you could live just about anyway you like. I can see how this would be attractive to many people despite the crime and weather. If I wasn’t so addicted to the ocean I would really consider it.

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