Gotta Watch: Reasons to love Detroit
Detroit, Michigan skyline from
March 23rd, 2011
12:03 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Reasons to love Detroit

Detroit has lost a quarter of its population in the past decade. That's about 237,000 people, according to new Census figures. Lawmakers blame crime, political scandals, the collapse of the automobile industry, the housing market ... and the list goes on. However, things in Detroit aren't all bad. These videos underscore some of the great things happening in the Motor City.

Seeing past urban decay – Nothing positive in Detroit? Our friends over at VBS don't think so. They meet artists and musicians who say Detroit is a blank canvas full of possibility.

Greening Detroit roots – An environmental group sets up shop in one of Detroit's roughest neighborhoods. Their mission: to revitalize Detroit by going green. But how? We'll let them explain.

Education makeover – Math can be frightening in any city. But even more so in a city that has a staggering number of dropouts and seems to be failing its kids. Several Wayne State University professors are determined to change this and have practically reinvented the subject at math camp.

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Filed under: Economy • Gotta Watch • Michigan
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. Unfortunatetransplant

    Detroit was built upon overpaying of workers, poorly ran auto companies, and greedy politicians. When reality set in, the city crashed. The sad part is that no one wants to realize what needs to be done to fix the city, like bring its borders in and rule it for what it is, a middle sized city. Mayor Bing is met with resistance at every step of the way to try and better the city. What does that tell you about its residents, when they are mad at a mayor who is trying to help them out.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Kale

      Same can be said for the governor. Just voted in, ran his entire campaign on what he is going to change....Now people hate him because he wants to cut this and that. People don't realize that this state has CHANGED – and government needs to change with it. Too many people getting a free ride, and don't want to lose it. Mayor Bing and the Governor are correct, and if given the chance, will prove to be correct!

      March 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Poker

    To JC-VA, Jeff ohio, and Jack. I love your positive comments! The reason why Detroit is the spot it is now. Is greed.
    The car company move plants to city where labour was cheaper and land also. Second the biggest street car system in the world was dismantled and sold to Mexico City back in the fifties. Third the riots of 1967. The first are out but the rebuild never started. I wish in a sick way that a hurricane did hit or an earthquake Detroit. Then the world would come to help us in a minute. But that was not the case it wasn't mother nature or an act of God. It was racial tensions that blow up and kill the city. If you chose to come to Detroit bring Ideas, designs and Jobs. We can survive without your help. and The city will continue to design and build cars. If you chose to buy one than your Pro Detroit, If not I don't need to hear your reasons why things are wrong!

    March 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike B

    There is NOTHING good about Detroit. let's nuke it and start over.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • livesinmichigan

      i would like to point out there are good things about detriot and you are ignorant.....second on the logical side nuking detriot would affect the sub urban cities around detriot, windsor and the sub urban cities in canada around windsor 🙂 so no...plz visit the city multiple times(not just once) before commenting on it

      March 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kevin

    Ray and others who did not blame or point fingers. If there are not jobs and no real hope of getting a in the near job or future why would you live anywhere that offered that future to yourself or your children. Ray is very right that long road of once greatness that Detroit has been on is been closed followed by the Great United State. If you do not make something and all you do in provide a service you are going to become second rate i.e. western europe. Detroit has never been a 'City State' so stop reacting you it like no one with greater authority could not have stepped in and stopped the bad things the people in charge were doing. Or even over ride the wishes of the people.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hey

    Hey, Knoxville, WEAR A SEATBELT!

    March 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Guester

    I've never been to Detroit, although know several people from there. For people like me it has a huge image problem. When I hear Detroit I think of of crime and pollution. Have no desire to visit much less live there.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DRK

      Thought the same thing, before I moved here over ten years ago. Does the city have problems? Yes, very severe problems, and they've been growing for decades. Do I like living here? Yes. Don't judge the city from afar, based exclusively on media representations.

      March 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Turin

    I've been there once, I think if there is a giant scraping shovel to demolish the entire city and start over, that would be good.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GaHap

    As a past resident of Detroit from birth to age 35 I can tell you that Detroit is one big pile of crap. Sure, you can find nice looking places that they use to sell Detroit. Move away from the inner city and go west away from Wayne State University and the place looks like a war zone. Every year I visit my mother who still clings to her home. The roads (Warren Ave) have craters in them. Money is spent downtown (money not stolen by politicians). Even today you can still see burned shells of home from the Detroit riot in 1967. I was a cop in Detroit at the time. Now ask why people are leaving. They are looking for a better place to raise a family because Detroit is not the place.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michigander 4 Life

    I grew up in Michigan but have since left for a job opportunity elsewhere. I think Detroit has a very unique chance to start over and revamp the way we American's do business. The city is basically a blank slate for the young, hip, educated city planners, engineers, teachers, politicians, entrepreneurs, etc to get it right. I think great steps are being made and people are very motivated. While many pictures of Detroit are bleak, you'll find a spirit there that is unlike any other and I am very proud to tell people where I come from, and where I plan to move back to as soon as I can. Life isn't easy, but that's what makes it great!

    March 23, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • DTW to ATL

      I wholeheartedly agree! The city of Atlanta flourishes despite its corruption, mismanagement, shameful school system, ragtag public transport and lack of culture and spirit... Cannot wait to get out of here and back to the D.

      March 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • OvernOut

      Thank you for your post. I know several young persons who moved from the suburbs and have started up businesses in Detroit over the past year, all of the businesses are making money. YES, the businesses are the legal kind. These kids are not "yuppies", either, they were just looking for a place where they could afford to start up businesses. Detroit should replace their 2.5% city income tax, and crack down on crime, especially auto theft. I suspect that's why it looks like the population is down, people are claiming to live outside the city to escape the high city income tax and shockingly high auto insurance rates..

      March 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Reality

    I am from one of Detroit's suburbs, and I used to work in Detroit for 11 1/2 years. I watched as Mayor Coleman Young destroyed the city with his thug and crime mentality. I watched as the city residents literally burned their own communities on Devils Night every year, and foriegn reporters would position themselves to film the insanity. I watched Mayor Archer try to rebuild the city, but failed due to the crime laiden City Council. We all know about Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The failure of Detroit is NOT due to the auto industry or unions. It is NOT due to the specific politics. It is due to the awful crime, the theivery, the thug residents. That is why so many of us left. When the government decided to pay teenage girls, and women $300 to $400 a month for every single kid that they could produce, crime and poverty soared. Nothing is left except a mostly rotting corpse of a once great city. R.I.P. Detroit. You were great once.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      Couldn't have said it better. Born and raised on Detroit's east side. What was once a beautiful city, is beyond belief now. I have so many great memories of growing up in Detroit. I moved away in 1984 (had lived there 45) years. When I return to visit family, I can't wait to get through the city limits to the burbs. It is not the Detroit I once knew.

      March 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. PileOfObongo

    I formed ACORN in Detoilet. With help from my Black Panther friends, we've made many changes there. There's a free How to be a Pimp School, a YMCA (Youths Made into Criminal Assets), and unions. LOTS of unions.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lynnie

      COMMUNIST OBAMA LOVER.....ever watch the Agenda? America needs to view it!!!!

      March 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lyndsay

    I currently live in Detroit and go to school at MSU, many of the comments on here discuss the crime rate and unemployment problems. These issues plaque every major city, not just Detroit. The problems Detroit have are a lot more complicated than "there's too much crime" "the local government is corrupt" "there are no jobs" sure, all of these issues factor into the declining structure of Detroit, but there are many variables and therefore, no one easy solution.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Adam

    I lived in Detroit from 94-00. I'd walk around old parks at night and people on the streets would say, "WOW a white guy in Detroit!" I was a fish out of water. I stuck it out because of the people. There's a sense of lawlessness that does create a canvass like no other. And eventually I grew up and wanted more. I wanted vibrancy that played off of itself and generated momentum with ease. Detroit is hard, and bruised, a bad recipe of locust-style industry expansion and fear. I wish nothing but the best for my hometown even though I no longer live in Michigan.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Oh, the ignorance of people who can't see any further than the end of their nose because they can't think outside the box. Detroit is a city of opportunity to come for the wealthiest Americans who will and are rebuilding it brick by brick creating job opportunities while those who have no vision sit back and will say "I wish I had". Don't be stupid.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      They've been saying that since the "Renaissance" Center was erected and it continues to spiral into a hole.

      March 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Oh, that building was completed in 1977

      March 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan

      Adam... do you even know what you are talking about? The Renaissance Center occupancy will be near 90% once Blue Cross of Michigan relocates there. That doesn't seem like much of a spiral to me.

      March 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joshua Ludd

    Can we please just go ahead and bulldoze the abandoned neighborhoods and let them return to nature rather than try to rebuild yet another sprawling metropolis that is a drain and blight on the environment.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michigander 4 Life

      Yeah, lets sprawl and build a whole bunch more cookie cutter suburbs, destroying even more land. An urban setting can be one of the most economical and environmentally friendly ways to live. One plan for Detroit that is already in motion is to condense residential areas and create more open space or space that can be developed in an environmentally friendly matter.

      March 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
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