Geographically, Detroit has so much to offer. Politically and demographically, it's been bad for a long time...
Mount St. Mary's hired a private equity CEO to be their president. You'll never guess what happened next.
Geographically, Detroit has so much to offer. Politically and demographically, it's been bad for a long time...
...? Overall trends in the US indicate that people are absolutely fleeing the Rust Belt (excluding Chicago) to the south. Has Michigan had positive population growth in the past two decades? The weather... honestly sucks; out of the 50 biggest cities in the US, Detroit has to be bottom 10 for weather. There isn't a seaport, it isn't a railhub, the airport isn't a major hub, manufacturing and steel which were very reliant on the Great Lakes for transportation are no longer major industries. What geography as you talking about? The fact that there's plenttttyyyyyy of open space to build in the city?
"the airport isn't a major hub"
Delta would beg to differ...
While there are good things happening in Detroit, the fact is that the numbers make a comeback an epic challenge. It's a city who's infrastructure was built to support several million people. There are now 700,000ish. Even without majorly depressed property values, collecting enough revenue to support all the road/sewer/water system is a major issue. It's going to take a pretty long time for this to be corrected.
/ Policy nerdery. I hope that didn't cross the no politics line.
100% true. (Coming from another policy nerd). The city is almost going to have to consolidate within it's boundaries and that could be an incredibly difficult and slow process. One idea that I've heard thrown around is more urban farming to support a sustainable food system within the city. It can make the open space much more asthetically pleasing and provide access to food that a lot of people don't have. Check out "Detroit City is the Place To Be" by Mark Spinelli, it's very well written and a quick read.
Detroit has to walk such a fine line in this area. I think everyone would agree that if they could just cut off services to huge swaths of the city, and focus police coverage, lighting, etc. on populated areas, there are huge efficiencies and savings to be found.
The problem is you can't just force someone out. Taxpaying (theoretically) citizens can't be just told they're not getting services. On the other hand, you've got perhaps a few thousand holdouts eating up maybe a quarter of the city services budget. (That may be extreme; it's just a guess.) It's not fair to the other residents to have one stubborn resident holed up on one block. It's a major conundrum.
by initiating eminent domain proceedings.
You can do eminent domain for public projects; you can even use eminent domain to take land from someone and give it to someone else when that someone else has a big redevelopment plan in mind. (I won't bring my full opinion on Kelo v. New London to bear here due to politics, but suffice to say, boo. I don't think eminent domain should be used lightly.) But it would be a first in the courts for a city to take land and try to argue that "nothing" is a better public use of the land than what the owner was doing with it. That would be a court battle for the ages. Not sure the city could win, either.
Better idea perhaps would be to write a city rule declaring certain areas as zones where people who currently live there will be grandfathered in but once the occupant moves out, the city moves in, pays fair price, and shuts the area down. Again, though, a halfway decent lawyer might argue illegal takings.
The Supreme Courts of Illinois, Michigan (County of Wayne v. Hathcock (2004)), Ohio (Norwood, Ohio v. Horney (2006)), Oklahoma, and South Carolina have recently ruled to disallow such takings under their state constitutions.
Maybe a member of the Michigan Bar can shed light on the Court's rationale for prohibiting eminent domain for improving blighted areas.
I like the theoretically part. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Detroit doesn't collect much in the realm of residential property taxes.
I hadn't heard of using urban farming as a solution to blight, which is actually pretty intriguing to me.
You guys are right, though. We're essentially talking about regrowing a city, and no city starts out at 140 square miles. For services to operate properly, the population needs to be consolidated and there's not really an easy way to do that.
What they need - which has been said earlier - are people and jobs, which provides revenue which means they can start paying for things again. The nice thing is there have been signs of progress made there in midtown, downtown and a couple of other places. To me, what inspires the most optimism are things like the Riverfront projects or the Marche du Nain Rouge (which is a lot of fun if you've never been. I was in town this year for the Marche, stayed in a hotel on the riverfront, walked everywhere I needed to go and had a great time while I was at it.)
If Detroit can get the city government to a point where it can function and stay out of the way, I think the city has a good chance of attracting more people and becoming something unique. I don't think it will ever be Chicago or New York, but hopefully it can at least be Detroit.
Detroit residents elect awful leaders year after year. Until that changes, the city won't recover.
Plus, the job growth in the city is misleading. The lions share of the "new" jobs are Quicken related, with a bit of BCBSM thrown in as well. Outside of those two companies, there's not much growth. The moment the mortgage market begins to tank, the job number will shrink significantly.
If you put the Lions in charge of it, it'll never get done.
Haha -- I noticed that to, but wasn't gonna say anything!! I always laugh whenever the media/news portray a positive image of Detroit that turns out to be Windsor-related.
But it doesn't surprise me. I saw him play twice there and even then it felt like he liked that place and was trying to do something for it.
The problem I have with this, amongst many things, is that they claim Detroit has strong leadership. The two people that they mentioned in the article had to take over the city because of incompatent leadership at the city level. Not to get too political, I will leave it at that. Also claiming the city will rebound because of good sports teams is ridiculous. For well over 20 years the Red Wings have been a cup contender year in and year out. They have brought a lot of people back to the city, along with the Tigers doing well, and the Lions moving back into the city limits, but to say they will turnaround an entire city is ridiculous. The turnaround of the auto industry benefits the entire region, not just the city of Detroit. The only thing I got out the article that is truly helping the city is Dan Gilbert stepping up and purchasing properties downtown, and Jack White helping out the Masonic Temple. If Detroit is truly going to turn around, it needs to start from the inside and at the top with the city leadership. They need to work together for the common good, not what is going to benefit themselves economically or politically. Detroit has a LONG way to go.
I will let this thread hang around for now because it is of regional interest to a fair number of people on this site. Hopefully, folks behave, as there is an interesting discussion to be had here, particularly if you live in SE Michigan.
One thing I can say is that if you read the operational plan from the EFM, one of the items in there actually affects my work personally - the city will be exiting the electric resale business. One of the proposals is to retire the PLD system and transfer their customers to our existing infrastructure in the city. It's a 3-5 year plan, from what I understand - it also includes trimming down the streetlight density to best serve more populated areas of the city.
I moved from the city in 1990, and returned in 2011. I couldn't believe how much the city had changed...
I love the city of Detroit, and want to believe in it's "comeback," but it's hard for me to imagine today. The argument that the Big 3 are profitable and selling cars doesn't hold water... American cars simply aren't being built in America like they were 40 years ago, and that likely won't change.
The article does a decent job of highlighting some of the great things about the city, and I consider myself an optimist (My wife and I were considering purchasing a beautiful home in Indian Village, only to change my mind, largely due to my three school-aged children.)
I just finished Charlie LeDuff's book Detroit: An American Autopsy, which I enjoyed, and paints a slightly different picture. In my opinion, if the Kevyn Orr can fix the ills plaguing the city government, then Detroit has a fighting chance. If he fails, who knows...
I was really torn about it. Some of his facts were fudged, some of his analysis was wrong-ish, but when you hold up his narrative and put it all together, it's accurate. And devastating. I work in Detroit, but live in Ann Arbor. I've seen it get better in the past ten years (at least in the central business corridor), but it's got a long way to go.
Today's EM meeting with creditors could be a first step. But even that process will take 3-4 years, at a minimum.
There should be more shows about the real pawn shops in the nighborhood because they are so real and not at all scripted.
The city needs more people to make its "epic comeback," but those people need a reason to move back into the city. Someone's going to have to take a substantial financial risk to boost the desireability of Detroit and hope people get drawn in. This is why Jack White's donation is so important; the city has produced a decent number of wealthy people whose fortunes could make a real difference here.
Of course, the problems start and end with the city council. Fire sale.
"Epic comeback" is really pushing it. And a lot of those "reasons" ended up being out in the suburbs. "Detroit" is not home to all those Fortune 500 companies, the area is.
It's nice to see the city getting some positive press. But I get the sense that the article also implies the whole region is (or was) as troubled as the city.
I do think that a lot of the old thinking is starting to be marginalized in the city. You don't see as much reticence toward "outsiders" - there's still plenty of it getting publicized, but now you look at these "protests" that make the news and it turns out that like two dozen people showed up. I think people are seeing some of the positive effects of "outsider" change ("wow, I got my kid out of DPS and into a charter school and it's a hell of a lot better"), or else just sick and tired of seeing what happens when the old guard tells everyone to piss off, or whatever. But I believe there's more openness in the city than before, which is a big step in improving things.
They'll probably be out of business in a few years due to pending government regulations.
Optimism left me long ago. All that's left is wishful thinking and gross ignorance of the facts on the ground (and within the financial ledger).
They're going to restructure most of that debt (which is mostly pension obligations anyway). On a going forward basis, they need to increase their tax base and reduce the tax rates.
The key is really jobs. When a kid graduates from UofM or MSU, they will ask themselves, where should I go for the best chance at getting a job? Most of them choose Chicago, some stay in Ann Arbor (or other Michigan suburbs) and others chase the coasts. How many of them say Detroit?
Those are the kids you want to fill up your demographic. Once they get married and have kids, they will buy houses, furniture, and eat out at restaurants... and their consumption fuels growth year after year.
as part of the restructuring, are they going to be willing to pour more money in? At what cost, or with what restrictions? Can be challenging to get out of the downward spiral.
happens all the time. new lenders are willing to come in based on the existing collateral so long as the old liabilities (incl., liens, encumbrances, etc.) are wiped.
I'm not from Detroit and don't live within 1,000 miles of the place...so I have no skin in the game. But Detroit has lots of land and lots and lots of fresh water. If you have those two things, you will always have a city.
Yes, you have to undo decades of political and criminal and union corruption. No, it's not going to be like it was back in the day...but maybe that's a good thing.
One thing...whenever people talk about the mass exodus from Detroit, it's important to note that the population decrease has taken place in the city limits. But since 1980, the population of the Detroit METRO area has largely stayed the same. Eventually, it will be make more economic sense to move back within the city limits and start filling in those massive gaps currently being occupied by weeds, broken glass and burned out homes.
The influx of young, creative people looking for cheap housing is what fueled a renaissance (of sorts) in both Philly and Pittsburgh. Detroit could see the same thing going on. You need to stabilize your society. That means figuring out a way to address the crime (on some level). There's a whole generation of people that are swirling the drain in a vicious cycle. That has to stop as well.
But you've got land and water. Ask Texas how important that is. Remember when Austin was the place that everyone wanted to move to? Well, it bursts into flames every summer.....
Of course, this is also an article that claims Houston is the *best* city in America. It's easily the ugliest city I've ever been in.
Land and water are important, but so are jobs. Young kids flock to cities with jobs. Once Detroit gets more jobs, the demographics will improve naturally.
As you noted, jobs are the key. Detroit may be the crown jewel of midwestern rust belt cities in terms of how far the city has fallen, but what has happened in Detroit parallels Cleveland, Cincinnati and dozens of other cities throughout the midwest, New England, etc.. Much manufacturing is being done offshore and getting it back seems more like wishful thinking than economic reality.
In the short term, consolidation seems like a better appoach so that infrastructure support is less expensive. Then there is the issue of Detroit's eroding tax base. I'll keep my fingers crossed but don't feel terribly exuberant about the city's chances of an easy or quick turnaround.
It's not just a jobs issue. It's a quality-of-life issue. When those young people start having kids, are they going to want to raise them in Detroit?
With land & water, you can eat (without even needing a job). It sounds backwards, but there is opportunity there.
pesky electricity bills tho...
i have a garden too, doesn't mean i want to cook that shit on a fire.
Young people could be the key to the turnaround in the city. Cheap rent is one of the major draws to Detroit, along with the opportunity to live in an urban environment with so much rich history.
Universities (including U of M) have programs that send students to Detroit for summers to take classes, work internships, participate in service projects, etc. These little things make a difference. Companies like Quicken Loans have helped too by providing benefits to relocate employees within city boundaries.
Crime is an interesting dilemma in Detroit. We obviously all know about the dangers of the city, but unless you venture too far off the beaten path you should typically be ok. The statistics and portrayal of crime in the media really is terrifying though and gives the city a terrible stigma that really can't be shaken, especially from people who didn't grow up near Detroit or visit it often.
I'm optimistic about the city's return, but not in the short term.
To get people to move back in, city services have to improve. The crime rate remains appallingly high, and things like replacing broken streetlights and plowing after snowfall are iffy. And then there's the public schools . . . yikes.
Mayor Bing's plan to consolidate residential areas was a good idea. Hopefully the new mayor will do likewise. The parts of the city with extremely low population density should be turned into parks or something. The city can't provide adequate services to an entire 139-square-mile area as it is.
I live in Ann Arbor but work in Detroit. I've thought about what it would take for me to consider moving to an ok neighborhood in Detroit and the answer was "The Schools". If the State and local governments can fix the schools, make them some of the best in the Michigan, then I think we would see an influx of younger families who work in the area or immigrants who are moving to the US.
I've been working in the hood for the last 10 years, and these are some things I've seen change recently (for the good):
Police actually patrolling I75 and <gasp> pulling people over for speeding
The "Slow's effect" on the immediate surrounding area
I actually saw kids playing in the street yesterday on Scotten (which is where our plant is located).
Delapidated houses are starting to get demoilished (at least in the area I'm located. Still a LOT more to go)
Right across the street from our building is a couple burned out and abandoned homes. Just this morning I was considering going downtown to inquire into buying those two. In MY opinion, I think we may have reached the bottom here in Detroit. It might be time to invest.
looks like you need to replace the roof and gut the interior. i'd be worried about weather damage on the inside w/ those broken windows all winter. need to check for mold and water damage. otherwise, there is some potential depending on how cheap u can buy it for.
I don't think it's salvagable. Years of neglect and rotting wood, mold, infestation makes this a perfect candidate for tear-down. If the city gave me the property for $1000, I'd buy those 2 today.
I think it'll be a while before land values increase notably in the parts of the city that have been devastated by blight and neglect. If you can afford to have a very long-term view—twenty years at least—buying cheap isn't a bad idea.
Police actually patrolling I75 and
pulling people over for speeding
I guess that brings in some revenue, but is that really where you want to be allocating police resources given the city's crime rate? The neighborhoods really need more of a police presence.
And people going too fast on I-75 is one of them?!?
If anything, isn't the biggest problem with I-75 is traffic is backed up and moving too slow?
In MY opinion, I think we may have reached the bottom here in Detroit. It might be time to invest.
Unless you're talking about an area in very close proximity to downtown/the riverfront, I'd be careful. I don't really know what can be done about the neighborhoods elsewhere in the city. Why would someone with the means choose to live by, say, Seven Mile when they can move just a couple miles north and live in a much safer area with better schools and better shopping? Until there's a compelling reason to convince people in the outlying neighborhoods to stay, they'll continue to lose population.
to buy a rowhouse in Baltimore and I can only hope for the same. People have been trying to revive Baltimore for decades. Detroit isn't that bad. Parts of Baltimore would make the Detroit slums look like Disneyland.
I don't know man. Have you traveled on the Davison, east of 75? Wyoming & Grand River? McGraw & Grand Blvd? If Baltimore is much worse than those places, I recommend you find another city to live in.
Detroit is very bad. So is Baltimore. But overally, Batlimore is nicer - it has a better downtown and the inner harbor is something Detroit doesn't even come close to matching. A lot more wealth in Baltimore, both city and metro.......and no, there are no parts of BMore that would make the Detroit slums look like Disneyland. That is laughable.
I live in Howard County near Baltimore. Inner Harbor is similar to the area around Woodward/Harmony/Stadiums, complete with several high-profile shootings in the Harbortown complex last summer. They DO have the National Aquarium and the Constellation, which is pretty cool.
The parts I DO like are Federal Hill and Fell's Point...both vibrant areas, but still a little bit of grit. We're always there on the weekends. Detroit really doesn't have anything like that (or Canton as well, combination of 1700-1800s architecture with restaurant/bar/shopping scene)
You haven't been to some of the bad parts of Baltimore. There are some truly terrifying places around Hopkins, and around northwest Baltimore. I went to Med School @ Wayne, and did a rotation @ Sinai-Grace in NW Detroit (another pretty damn scary area, my first ER night one of the ambulances got carjacked in the bay), and did fellowship @ Cleveland Clinic, right near East Cleveland. All areas are comparably bad.
I would love for Detroit to get on it's feet again. Hopefully, the impending Chapter 9 will allow the Emergency Manager to trim a lot of the legacy costs and modernize the public service contracts so the city doesn't have a public infrastructure to support 2 mil, while the population is 700K. Decrease taxes, better public services, continued improvements in safety, and most of all, better schools will help keep people in the area.
if you're saying the area near cleveland clinic is bad, i suppose i have to doubt your other assessments. if you're talking a mile+ away, then yeah i guess. but CC is one of the safest areas of cleveland, next only to maybe downtown.
Baltimore's 2011 violent crime rate was 1,417 per 100,000 people and its murder rate was 31.3. Detroit's violent crime rate was 2,134 and its murder rate 48.2.
Baltimore has some very, very rough parts - so does Detroit. But Baltimore does benefit a bit more from some nicer, wealthier parts as well.
many thousands of relatively good wage/low skill manufacturing jobs is going to struggle mightily unless those kinds of jobs come back, and that ain't happening. Several generations of Detroiters of all colors and ethnic groups were able to become middle-class by virtue of the auto manufacturing industry and all its related industries, and the large majority of these jobs required nothing more than a high-school education, if that. The disappearance of these jobs took far less time to occur than the process of creating them did, and the result was that there was suddenly no way to make middle-class wages for all the Detroiters who had until a short time before been able to make do with a high-school diploma.
This has happened to cities all over the industrial midwest, but Detroit was probably more thoroughly dependent on heavy manufacturing than any of them.
I supply steel to fabricators/manufacturers and there are quite a few jobs out there right now. Those companies that survived 2009-2011 are now flourishing. The problem is finding people who WANT to work. Every single one of my customers in or around the city have the same complaint: it's a chore finding candidates who will
I consult with businesses, and have heard this same refrain more times than I can count.
Are you saying this is an issue unique to Detroit or nationwide?
My experience is predominantly in Michigan. It may be wider than that but I can't speak to experience outside of that.
Word. I would have a hard time believing it was a widespread issue since it was just a few years ago that we had significantly lower unemployment. Those people didn't just disappear. A localized deterioration in the quality of the workforce in a place like Detroit, however, is easy to imagine.
It actually is possible for people to "disappear" from the unemployment data, if they aren't actively looking for work. If you are neither employed nor looking to become employed, you aren't counted in the data.
unemployment. Most of the people in the city who have the life skills that enable them to hold down jobs are already working, and many others have long since left the area for greener economic pastures. A sizeable portion of those who are left are people with the least prospects and are truly unemployable without substantial investments in work training, and that's no panacea. It's an intractable problem, IMHO.
Unless there is a culture change, Detroit will never be great again. Most of the residents are jaded by years of crime, corruption, and apathy, and you can't get a city going without a productive population.
Detroit needs a large infusion of new residents (highly unlikely) or years (maybe decades) for its current population base to grow out of the malaise that brought the city down in the first place.
I won't get into tooo much of a political argument, but it seems that from this article, "Business Insider" is similar to the Bleacher Report.
A Crane with the city's skyline/river behind it? Yeah, that's Windsor...not even the same country.
Strong leadership? Sorry buddy, Kilpatrick was only part of the problem - and not even a large part of it. Detroit's inept and corrupt leadership was here decades before Kilpatrick was having stripper parties.
Crime is waning? Not sure where this is coming from...unless you want to look at the fact that Detroit has been bleeding population since 2003, which might account for something.
Good sports teams and a Triple Crown Winner? Sounds like the #1 thing that would bring a City on it's feet. Great point, Business Insider.
Don't get me wrong - I love what's going on Downtown, and I'm relatively bullish on the Metro Area - but this list is a sham, and the City of Detroit's problems are massive. They certainly aren't corrected by Justin Verlander pitching a no-no.
what do you think of the casinos impact in detroit?
on the one hand, it's additional tax revenue... on the other hand, it's mostly detroiters who go and waste all their money (so it's not even bringing in outside money).
I'm not convinced it's "mostly Detroiters." For one thing, the fact that the revenue drop at the casinos coincided perfectly with the opening of casinos in Toledo shows that, at least up til then, a noticable amount of money was coming from out of state. It's probably still the case.
I do agree with the argument that a dollar wasted at the casinos is a dollar not spent at a store or put in a bank where it can be loaned. But I think most casino goers are suburbanites. So while the money doesn't leave the region, it does go to Detroit instead of a Wal Mart in suburbia. So that's a plus for the city.
The mistake the city made - and I think it's a big one - was not pushing for the casinos to locate in one area. The riverfront plan made sense. It seems like it wouldn't - after all, casinos purposely don't have windows, which wastes the point of a view. But Niagara Falls has casinos, and if Niagara Falls can have casinos, so can the Detroit River. You can get a nice view from your hotel room. And a casino district would've done more to attract local businesses to that area and created more of an entertainment district than just an island on Grand River Ave.
Definitely agree about not having all the casinos in one area. Having a strip of sorts or "entertainment district" is much more attractive to visitors than just allowing casinos to exist, especially pulling in people for conferences or large meetings. That stuff goes to Vegas, Toronto, Kansas City, Atlanta, Orlando, etc. and an interesting attraction in Detroit could have done the same.
what a quaint notion. more likely the deposit would be serving as collateral for some rehypothication scheme into which the bank has entered, pledging the cash as collateral in a derivatives contract. (sorry for the real world intrusion; now back to football).
Time for me to start buying row houses???
The median income in Detroit is ~20k a year...
per capita or per household?
It's great that they're optimistic, but this picture is just ridiculous
You can't brag about how it's home to Fortune 500 companies, when only 2 are actually in Detroit, and everything else is in the Metro area.
and you cannot possibly count that as Detroit. Plus the ones in Livonia and Canton(?) are debatable as well. And GTFO with those ones based on Waterford and Rochester Hills.
And while GM is "based" in downtown Detroit, most of its employees work in the Tech Center in Warren.
Maybe Ally Financial and GM have the same address - there should be 3 in Detroit (DTE Energy is the 3rd).
Still one behind Columbus.
Detroit's road to recovery begins today, Orr said in a statement issued on the sidelines of the meeting at the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport hotel. "Financial mismanagement, a shrinking population, a dwindling tax base and other factors over the past 45 years have brought Detroit to the brink of financial and operational ruin."
archer was in charge, the stadiums were going up, and Kwame got elected. Loved it. Completely unique (since it was sometimes desolate) urban experience. We had nice momentum under Archer, but window dressing and corruption under Kwame stunted the growth that could have happened under Freeman Hendrix. It nevertheless progressed. Sure Parts of Detroit, like every major urban area will always suck and remain dangerous, but parts will continue to grow to be something special. For example, I look at campus martius and the riverfront now with envy and amazement. That was all shit when I was down there and within a decade or so it changed to some pretty amazing public space. We have come along ways and don't give the d enough credit. Its easy to throw a shit house picture up and make cliche jokes about our city, but f it, I love it more than most cities I have been in and most cities I have been in have some level of the same shit. It would be great to flip a switch on Detroit, but institutional, regional cooperation, cultural, economic and racial issues like ours are a 50 year problems not a quick fix. To me, i agree with the conclusion, not the list here, but think the timeline is a ways out....for me, If the d has pockets of family friendly neighborhoods and one or two viable elementary schools by the time I die, I will consider that amazing process. For now, I just dig its grittiness, the talent it produces, the food, the art, the architecture, the sports, the people, and even though I have kids, I don't give a rip that I can't stroll them down the street of a hood after 10 pm....I wouldn't do that in most cities. Appreciate it for what it is and isn't. man.
Whoa, what the hell did I just ramble on incoherently about?
I love the city of Detroit, and really hope it does come back. But as I see it, the main thing holding the city back right now it's at school system. You're starting to see a lot of twentysomethings moving to Detroit because it's becoming cool again. The problem is, once those people start having kids, almost all of them will move out to send their kids to better schools
It's not just schools it's the lack of overall amenities. The police response time is awful, there aren't enough grocery stores, I'm sorry a Whole Foods isn't going to help what the citizens of Detroit needs. It's starting to come back but it's going to take quite a long time before outsiders see it as a desirable destination.
I see your point, and I completely agree with you about whole foods, but to me the single biggest obstacle to a real recovery for the city is the sub-par schools. Southwest Detroit, for example has 2 or 3 decent grocery stores, and a bunch of restaurants and small businesses. Sure there's some crime, but the thing that keeps young families, and really anyone with enough money to relocate elsewhere from sticking around, to me, is the lack of quality schools
"investors who hold $377 million in interest-rate swap contracts obtained the right to demand immediate payment the moment Snyder appointed Orr to the job"
Long time obfuscation of facts along with pervasive underestimation of the problem.
Somehow American society now views things like foreclosure and bankruptcy as the ultimate evil that must be avoided at all costs. It's really not.
Bankruptcy and foreclosure are not desired outcomes, but they are outcomes. And they were devised for very good reasons and situations just like these. Without them, contract law is destroyed,, and replaced by misconduct and moral hazard.
HAHAHAHA is this like ND's return to glory?
Sorry folks, but when Hiroshima is a beautiful city and Detroit is a hole, doesn't say too much. And Hiroshima was hit with an atomic bomb.
Ahh yes kick Detroit while its down, like basically everyone else that lives outside the metro area.
dude, hiroshima is a ghetto!
I think most neighborhoods anywhere in Japan have mostly Japanese tennants...
If people are interested in the history behind Detroit's collapse (besides it's the auto industry, stupid) I highly recommend the book The Origins of the Urban Crisis, by Thomas Sugrue.
...is also a pretty good read. By Scott Martelle.
"Those of us who have been holding our breath, waiting for a Motown return to greatness, will likely be waiting a few decades longer."
This is the reason you're waiting. Stop holding your breath and contribute.
Detroit needs to get rid of the racism and the corruption before they will ever be successful again. Every mayor and every person on the city council is African American. To me that is racist.
I have been down in Houston for a long time now but Detroit will always be home in my heart. What happened to this idea:
Selling off sections of the city that adjoin other more prosperous cities, i.e. parts to Warren, Dearborn etc.? Does this idea have any merit?
On a side note, my former employer just purchased two of the three Riverfront Towers late last year. I wish them luck.
You mean having another city pay actual cash money to take ownership of huge problems hasn't caught on?
Since I'm in real estate I can think of several ways in which the scenario could work. However, dickish answers would not be on the list.
I think Detroit would need to pay these other cities to take its blighted neighborhoods off its hands. Most of the inner-ring suburbs are struggling to pay their own bills, so they're not going to be eagerly looking to snap up land that will cost a fortune to service and provide little in tax revenue in return.
I don't want to sound like a jerk, but that idea sounds crazy . . . why would a city want to pay a ton of money to receive a bunch of high-crime, impoverished neighborhoods? Not to mention that a lot of the inner suburbs are already battling the perception that they're becoming ghettoized as it is (they are where Detroiters typically move to).
I'd be genuinely interested to hear them. I can only think of two scenarios: the city sells good sections, or the city sells bad sections. I think the inherent problems in both would be obvious. No suburb would pay Detroit for a blighted disaster zone, and there aren't very many of those on the edges of the city anyway. (If it was truly empty land, you could make a case, but most areas aren't truly empty.) And Detroit would be utterly foolish to sell off its good tax-generating land for a one-time fix and keep the blight.
Besides that, you have the problem that most of the land isn't owned by the city anyway. Dearborn or Warren or what have you would have to buy from thousands of individual landowners. Simple transfer of city jurisdiction is another matter that would have to be taken up in the state legislature, most likely.
Besides that, you have the problem that most of the land isn't owned by the city anyway. Dearborn or Warren or what have you would have to buy from thousands of individual landowners.
A symphony of missing the point!
Simple transfer of city jurisdiction is another matter that would have to be taken up in the state legislature, most likely.
Because the state and the boundary commission do not have procedures for annexing one city's land to another, that's why.
Besides, certain city residents are awfully prickly about things like transferring the administration of city assets to a regional board. Cobo Hall was like pulling teeth. Belle Isle and the water department even more so. Can you imagine the tangle of court proceedings they'll put together if they ever get wind of the city actually giving up actual land?
I don't know what the heck you mean by "missing the point."
just homestead the $%^@ out of the place? Make the abandoned properties available for $1, set up some kind of expedited permitting process, and give gigantic property and/or income tax breaks to people who build, reside and stay for, say, five years? Make it attractive to entrepreneurs and risk-takers.
"We'll never be Chicago. But maybe we could be Indy. Or Pittsburgh."
Honestly, the city that Detroit should hope to become actually IS Pittsburgh. What has happened there is economically (and really not over a particularly long period of time) is nothing short of amazing.
Pittsburgh was NEVER was fucked up as Detroit is now. Detroit's history from the riots onwards is completely different than Pittsburgh's history. Moreover, the city of Pittsburgh itself is TINY geographically... lots of corporate $ but not many poor inner city folk to care for. The opposite is true for Detroit.
Someone doesn't know as much about Pittsburgh as they think they do...
That said, the primary point that I was getting at was with regard to the cratering of the primary economic generating industry in the city/region. In that respect, what happened in Pittsburgh was worse. At its height of production, there was more steel made in the city limits of Pittsburgh than in the rest of the world combined. Today there isn't one steel mill in the city of Pittsburgh. The auto industry is obvious in bad shape in Detroit, but it obviously still exists (as well as much of the associated businesses). I honestly believe that a large part of what is wrong with Detroit today is about attitude (ie we have it so bad, and so much worse than anyone else, and there is nothing we can do about it).
Look at the murder rate in Detroit. Look at the graduation rate of the city's schools. Look at the political atmosphere of corruption and nepotism. Look at the amount of abandoned properties in the city. Look at the obscene unemployment rates in the city. Look at the mockery made of Detroit on a national and international level.
As for the auto industry, if you think that's sticking around... ha. How many plants have been built in Detroit in recent years vs. non-union dominated states like South Carolina or Alabama? At least Pittsburgh dropped steel altogether and focused on new industries. The only "new" industry I've seen in the news about Detroit is hipsters opening coffee shops, bars and urban farms.
Pittsburgh may have had economic issues, but it never had the social collapse Detroit has had. I know some of you hold Detroit dear to your hearts, but look at ANY other city in the United States. You can't even compare how, honestly, shitty Detroit is compared to any other major city in the US. How the *&%^ are you going to convince someone to move to Detroit instead of Chicago, Pittsburgh, or Columbus right now? It'd take a 25-40% raise for me to even consider it. The population is only going to get older and smaller as people continue to flee not only the city, but the state.
"At least Pittsburgh dropped steel altogether and focused on new industries."
That is, more or less, my point. It seems like the vast majority of people in Detroit (at least the decision makers) are hell bent on the idea that the auto industry will return and all will be ok. It's ok that the city's identity is the auto industry, but you can still retain that identity and move on. Hell, Pittsburgh is still synonymous with steel, even though they make very little in the entire area anymore and absolutely none within the city limits.
All of that said, you still missed my point. Yes, Detroit is larger both geographically and in terms of population. Yes, it is significantly worse of economically than Pittsburgh. The key with that last sentence is that it is worse of economically than Pittsburgh NOW. It wasn't 25 years ago when both cities had their primary (or more accurately exclusive) industry crater. The difference is that Pittsburgh let it go and moved on, made a major effort to attract new industry, and is now booming, whereas Detroit is still holding on and waiting for the comeback.
Pittsburgh was NEVER was fucked up as Detroit is now.
So, is the "Herm" thing done with? Because I don't think ol' Herm would have ever used such appalling language.
Ohhh yeah Detroit is doing great..... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22914431 . This is just an author looking for page clicks, Detroit is beyond repair. I've travelled all over the world, most continents, and never felt as unsafe or as uncomfortable as I did in Detroit.
We don't want to be Chicago that would be worst than Detroit
No, it wouldn't be.
I'm guessing Detroit wouldn't mind quadrupling their population (going from 18 to 3 in the US), doubling their tourism numbers, gaining anything like the downtown area including the tallest building in the country (is there a better downtown in America?) which has two top ten universities bookending it and quadrupling their Fortune 500 HQ's.
Also all of this hypothetically would be happening while drastically reducing crime and adding an unbelievable amount of wealth. It's obvious that any US city with maybe 2-3 exceptions would kill to be Chicago.
How is this still at a 2???? Exactly. Detroit is dysfunctional beyond belief to most Americans. I came to college loving my home city, going to games with friends on the subway, having fun downtown, and taking pride in my hometown. Detroit... Jesus, ya'll might not want to admit it... but it is a freaking hellhole. Honestly, anyone who takes on the problem is a better person than I, because I just look at the situation and could only throw up my hands.
I agree with some of this, but you're selling Detroit short in terms of geography. Canada is our largest trading partner and 25% of all trade between the countries goes through the Detroit-Windsor crossing. That's a nice trump card there. Detroit is also located along the Great Lakes shipping lanes, and goods shipped by boat from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois or farther north in Michigan pass through the Detroit River. The region is still a vital shipping hub.
Throw in the auto industry and you've got a good starting point there. Then when you consider that Detroit is located in a state with a ton of natural beauty, thanks to its huge shoreline (not to mention the fact that no part of Michigan is more than eight miles from a lake), and by all means, it should be a place where people want to live. It's really unbelievable that the city is considered so undesireable when you think of all this. It took decades upon decades of astonishingly bad mismanagement for the city to reach where it is now. No one would have predicted this 50 years ago.
"No one would have predicted this 50 years ago."
I'm willing to bet that lots of people predicted this 50 years ago. A lot of it is terrible and consistent mismanagement, but the seeds of the worst of the financial aspect were sown more than 50 years ago.
50 years ago, Detroit had over 1.5 million people and whites formed a majority of the population. It had approximately the same racial makeup as Chicago and Philadephia at the time. I don't think people would have predicted then that the city would now be a hollowed-out shell with 700K people and almost no white residents. What happened to Detroit would be akin to the entire North Side of Chicago moving out and leaving that area full of abandoned houses.
Most of the people who moved out did not leave the entire area; they just left the city for the suburbs, so this isn't just an economic issue. Other big cities experienced white flight but not on this scale. I don't want to veer into politics, but if a different person had been elected mayor in the early 1970s, maybe Detroit's history turns out differently - maybe it doesn't become a place that white people, en masse, decided they wanted no part of.
If you would have said 60 years ago, I may have been able to go along with you, but not 50.
The article had some silly factoids (Wholefoods, sports teams, Jack White don't provide anything), but here are my reasons for optimism:
1. If Orr can restructure some of the retiree obligations, Detroit will be on a better footing financially than many cities across the country. I don't know the details every other big city's union contracts, but suspect that many will be right where Detroit is now in 5-10 years without changes. If Detroit can permanently reduce this liability it will be a step ahead.
2. The neighborhoods that are doing well seem to be picking up -- Indian Village, Palmer Woods, Corktown and the Wayne State area. These are islands admittedly, but they are moving in the right direction.
3. As the article states, metro Detroit features more Fortune 500 companies than many other cities its size. Yes, some are in the suburbs and many of tham manufacture outside of Detroit but as long they thrive they will provide employment and a reason for people to stay or move here.
4. The Riverfront, Canadian border, transportation infrastructure (airlines, highways, shipping, rail etc.) are reasons to believe that Detroit will have an economic future.
5. Strong state universities (I'm a Michigan grad but will admit that there are strong programs at MSU, Wayne, Oakland etc.) will at least keep many local kids in Michigan college and in U of M's case and to a lesser extent MSU brings kids to Michigan from other places some of whom will stay.
Two things need to happen. One Detroit needs to aggressively downsize (tearing down abandonned houses, buying up isolated ones), and Orr needs to be successful inside or outside of Chapter 9.
My other, pie in sky suggestion is that we move to more regional government. Why have Detroit, Dearborn, Trenton etc. police forces -- why not consolidate policing (and fire etc.) at the county level? The same could be done for libraries, parks etc.
1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22914431 "Creditors were asked to accept 10 cents on the dollar of what they are due. According to figures presented by Mr Orr, Detroit has some $11.5bn of unsecured debt." Well... he's trying.
4. What city doesn't have an airport, river, and railroads? The Canadian border... meh. Better to be a port city on the coasts or close to Mexico, I don't imagine Detroit particularly benefits (beyond a few Customs jobs) from some Canadian imports.
5. UM has a name that brings people to the state. In the same vein, that name also allows UM grads to work anywhere in the US or internationally pretty easily. If anything, UM opens doors for current Michiganders to more easily leave the state. MSU I'd imagine opens doors in Big Ten country, while the smaller schools probably do a decent job keeping students in the city.
Compltely agree with downsizing... but that is easier said than done. Detroit just can't say to a Seven Mile neighborhood... "Guess what, no more services!" Even if certain areas are absolute drains on resources, I don't think the city government can abandon them and no other town will want to take a failing neighborhood. Hell, this is probably one of the few times that the use of ED would be completely justifiable.
"My other, pie in sky suggestion is that we move to more regional government. Why have Detroit, Dearborn, Trenton etc. police forces -- why not consolidate policing (and fire etc.) at the county level?"
No chance that will happen.