City Blog

All about Detroit and More!

Getting Better ALL The Time…

For someone who doesn't live in Detroit but who visits now and then, I can attest that the city is getting better and better. Just like that old Beatles' song says.  I tend to visit in the winter time when it's cold.  Why?  Because I spend most of my time in the balmy LA region and I enjoy visiting the cold.  I appreciate it.  I see it for what it is.  I'm not weary of it. Yes, I know, I leave it behind but that's the whole point. I think the best love stories takes place in winter, not summer, when lovers have to bundle up and stay warm and drink tea and liquor and build fires to keep themselves going. They "feel" it. Some of my finest memories have taken place in the bitter freezing winters of Chicago, Boston, and a little less so in Nanjing, Shanghai, Paris, and Amsterdam. The United States just experienced one of it's coldest winters ever according to people who based their findings on their own memories, such as my 81 year old mother (New Jersey) and younger brother (Woodstock, NY).  They didn't provide data spit out by the world changing googlized internet, just solid memory of never remembering it so "bad."

So if you have been keeping up with the change that's been going down in Detroit in the last few years and you decide to take the plunge and actually live there, be prepared for the cold, unless global warming warps to a new intensity (which may not be too far fetched based on the latest reports recently released from the international community of environmental scientists -- not the 2 percent upstart Republican earth science dropouts).  And if you do move there and plant seeds, you're doing it at the exact right time. Never will there be a better time to move to Detroit in terms of economic value and civic and private support to help you along. There are literally dozens and dozens of organizations and funds available to newcomers and old comers, especially if you're attempting to start a business or purchase property and/or contribute to a growing community of tax paying citizens (I don't know how else to describe it in terms of economic and social class). Don't get me wrong, most of the change that has transpired and continues to transpire is downtown and midtown (up Woodward) leaving a vast domain of urban decay and mind boggling deterioration, including a bankrupt municipality and a sever lack of public services in those left out areas, but it's going to be inch by inch for a while until the landscape takes on a new glow.  And that usually happens when no one is looking. Suddenly it's just there. Unlike me, don't wait until it's too late.  Spend a couple of days on the internet with a handy cell phone and find out what's going on and what could go on for you and your future.  The architecture alone is a good reason to move there if you're an urban dweller and you prefer that life style. And as mentioned, it's only going to get better and better -- but be prepared for the winter months.


In spite of what you may have heard about the recent bankruptcy of Detroit and the lack of services, the city is experiencing quite a bit of change.  Good change, not bad change.  And it's happening relatively fast now that's it finally happening (after almost 50 years).  Led by entrepreneurs such as Dan Gilbert, the Quicken Loans mortgage billionaire, and a wide array of pseudo-anonymous grass roots and mid-level organizations, both public and private, the city is coming back to life through an expansion of the work force, a growth of culture, a heightened sense of community, and a cleaning up of some of the finest urban architecture in North America.  What's fascinating about this and what makes it so special is how truly awful things had gotten (and still are to a very large extent) before this recent upswing. Perhaps no city in the world has experienced the type of decline like Detroit has without the help of massive war or natural disaster. That is what fascinates the architects and the artists and writers who understand how truly remarkable and beautiful this city once was.  It wasn't called "The Paris of the West" for nothing.  And now, fifty years later, it's starting to change again in the other direction. Granted, it is just a bare beginning, and for it to be real change it must spread to the individual families who have been living in Detroit and not just to the people moving in for skilled jobs in finance and technology (unrelated to the automobile); and without doubt it will continue to be an uneven growth of sorts without a true emerging middle class, and a growth that favors the more educated and privileged, but that's the way things change is the 21st century. The fact is there is no easy or democratic way out of this hypnotic maze of urban prairie and decaying mortar. Detroiters must embrace the initiatives as they come, and if they don't like what they see or how things are going, do something about it -- and there is plenty of that going on. too. Check it out by clicking on the links on the Detroit Renaissance page and see for yourself.


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A Black and Blue Book Publishing Group is interested in urban phenomena. We publish contemporary fiction in which urban lifestyle and conditions are major themes, as well as non-fiction that address the unique issues, concerns and conditions of city life. We discern based on relevancy and social and artistic merit. read more


Underground Puzzles, by Celine Taylor, a study of the aging subway system in New York City, and what’s next in terms of modern underground transportation, keeping in mind global warming, rising sea levels, and international terrorism. Due in January 2016.

Heroes with Nightmares by Melinda Payton, a journalistic account of the personal journeys of urban social workers, public defenders, and school teachers, as they attempt to remain objective, positive, motivated, and live normal lives outside their work. Due in September 2015.

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