Sunday, January 1, 2012

Detroit: The Death of Manhattanism

via Domus
by Mitch McEwen

There are many reasons to be fascinated with Detroit. Abandoned buildings and the unwinding of urban order have a kind of car-wreck appeal that traffics (pun intended) in the aesthetic pleasures of the sublime. Detroiters hate this kind of attention. One would rather reminisce about the height of automobile production and its attendant cosmopolitan side-effects (Motown music, an urban middle class, a population of 1.8 million[1]).

Between late March and the beginning of July of this year, a somewhat contradicting story of contemporary Detroit has emerged. When U.S. census figures were released, they announced the shrinking of Detroit's population by 25% over the last 10 years. In aggregate numbers the 237,500 residents who left Detroit in the past ten years tragically outsizes the 140,000 who left New Orleans after Katrina[2]. But closer parsing of the data reveals pockets of expansion: from Mexicantown and the growing Hispanic demographic, to the 59% increase in young college grads living in the city's downtown area. This latter statistic was the analytical cornerstone in the recent New York Times story about Detroit in the Fashion + Style section that featured a photo with the caption: "An influx of young creative types is turning Detroit into a Midwestern TriBeCa."

It is difficult to discuss Detroit without discussing media. The city is obsessed with the representations of itself, its image, its cultural currency. And in the most contemporary terms of media, Detroit—one might say—is trending. From Magic Johnson's venture capital fund[3] to the FIGMENT art fair on Belle Isle, a range of national endeavors are developing interests in Detroit. Not to mention national media attention. The New York Times has published 8 or so major articles on Detroit in the past year, even aside from articles about sports teams and auto companies. PBS and NPR both recently followed up on a Times article about Detroit's downtown with pieces titled "Is Detroit the New Brooklyn?"

Race and ethnicity in Detroit, by Eric Fischer

more details:

more about Detroit and New York:

Detroit’s Renewal from a Funder’s Perspective

Manhattan’s Master Plan: Why NYC Looks the Way it Does

NYC Taxi Reform Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Short Skirts on Bicycles Celebration in New York City

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