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Podcast: Downsizing Detroit, Real Talk

Detroit has gone from a population of about 1.9 million in 1950 to about 900,000 today.  So many people have left the city for suburbs or even out-of-state destination that it is now forced to rethink what kind of city it will be. There is not enough incentive for families to be attracted to its neighborhoods, so people who watch Detroit feel the city should re-evaluate what its middle class and what its tax base should be made up of for the forseeable future.

Kurt Metzger, Director of Data Driven Detroit rejoins us to talk about how Detroit can reimagine itself as a different type of urban environment, attracting a different type of city dweller.

Click "play" below.

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  • 1

    Some good ideas: But as a famous journalist paraphrased...'..Write what you know about...'. Same can be said of job creation, at least to a smaller degree : Create THE world's largest synergistic form of 21st Century Museum/Place of learning 'the Trades'. Nothing less than W.A.M.---World Automotive Museum(s). This concept, in brief, would utilize WHAT DeTROIT NOW HAS--Plenty of empty, or underutilized(literrally, in Regards to UTILITIES, RESOURCES)land, and well built , now historicly significant , Albert Kahn and Associates designed factories..Using , perhaps, local, state, and Federal funds, even BROWNFIELD FUNDING, Zoning, w/ participation from some neighbors, THIS DETROIT "Renaissance" Zone would House models of every significant Automaker and on a never before attempted scale, various disciplines... THE TRADES could contribute w/ Masonry-old restoration and repair; Electrical using Latest Green Tech to form World's largest pool of Greenies--Workers who could spread all over USA to develpo highest tech GreenWerks; and w/ respect to THE HENRY FORD, get back to REAL Factory tours --Historic and present. This entire state would benefit from Tourism--YES TOURISM!! SEE CURRENT CARLYLE(?), PA. events--Now numbering close to 1 million visitors!!... In a friggin' PA. fairgrounds!! Can you imagine THE NUMBERS from all over Worlf, Studying, Lookind at, and enjoying hotels, casinos, RAPID TRANSIT, =----HECK!--EVERYTHING. WAM would actually be a win-win-w/ current Auto Museums in immediate area, by whetting visitors' appetites , for more! ..THIS IS NO AUTO-WORLD..THAT WAS A JOKE WITH NO VISION!! Restoration schools , some in KANSAS, for Cri[pes sake, could open up here, for auto -hot rod related themes, as well as, Historic BLDG. Restoration, energy Tech, EVEN THE NEW DETROIT _BASED 'WINDMILL TECH' that is already WAY MORE efficient than modern wind turbines... Perhaps w/ incentives, THe BIG -USA 3..OK...ALL the World's Car Cos., close to 20 majors, would kick -in seed money, $$30 millions each, for example... This potential $$500-$$$600 million would be a LOT OF SEED MONEY!!! ..C'Mon detroit leaders...THIS IS THE TYPE OF SYNERGY THAT CREATE , maybe, 100,000 plus jobs, if done on a proper scale!! In order to work, though, to get America-Deteroit-MI- excited it has to be ALL INCLUSIVE....WAM could eventually be An even Greater Resource for Auto-Tech than Automation-Alley...But again, ALL INVOLVED MUST GET GOING! Porsche_VW, just completed $$!00 million museum-experience; Auburn Hills Chrysler (only 50,00 Sq. feet!!) gerners much internet buzz..THE HENRY FORD ISN't strictly cars..They could out Historic Williamsburg, VA., VA.!! Eateries...IT'S ALL DOABLE--MANY OF THE PIECES TO OUR OUR Economic puzzle, are ,literally , dirt Cheap..THE PACKARD COMPLEX!!..OTHERS!!???.. Yesterday's paper ran 2 pages on FENWAY PARK, a DETROUIR PAPER SPORTS SECTION...WAY TO GO CITY PLANNERS!! Just friggin' DO IT!! DARE TO DREAM OUTSIDE THE BOX!!..IF NOT NOW??...WHEN/???!!!!...Look at Orlando, for crying out loud...NO ONE NEEDS AMUSEMENT PARKS!!!...BVUT everyone NEEEDSS Transportation!! First thing new economic powers do is spend $$$$Billions to get THEIR AUTO INDUSTRY GOING!!.. NOT COMPUTERS, or even Bankimg!...

  • 2

    Accidentally closing the comment to clean up the screen is very dangerous. you loose your work.

    And seeing a half hour or more disappear is a bit disgusting.

    There should be a quick question as to whether or not you want to post or save your comment before closing the page. Many programs have that feature.


  • 3

    Very few have better knowledge of the city than Kurt. As he argues, retaining and attracting new middle class residents will be difficult for many reasons. Some not mentioned by Kurt include (a) the high millage, (b) the resident income tax, (c) high property insurance, and (d) high auto insurance. My guess is that these are obstacles that will drive out or keep away all but the most determined and Detroit committed empty nesters and young urban professionals. Of course, a lack of supermarkets and fresh food and public transportation can be added to the list. There are others. If the city and school district were able to offer incentives to their retirees to remain in the city, that would also help. Much of the wealth of the city, perhaps one-fifth, is tied up in the pension benefits of school district and public employees.

  • 4

    I like Dave Bailey and what he is saying!

    That is what we wanted for The Hudsons Buidling that was the perfect location.

    The Automotive Archival center, and Hall of Fame should have been located there as well

    It needs to be right downtown and associated with a University level School.

    Have you seen the Thompson/Ross Schools... way better and way less expensive that what Bobb and his minions are doing.

    Did you see the Thompson/Ross School for Science and math with the Autosports Hall of Fame. Makes you wish that you were entering Jr. High again.

    U of M should be right in Downtown setting up facilities.

    Lafayette Park has been receiving a resurgence of bright young professionals... it needs to be expanded in a first class way.

    We do need an International Architectural Competition for more housing... do it better than Mies and we will be humming.

    Yes, absolutely cut the despair.

    And yes Stainless Steel wind engines are the answer...

    Read this... the theoretical maximum efficiency actuall Can be met:

    Dave Bailey will you pleas come home!

  • 5

    For anyone to come back to the city, there have to be true city neighborhoods there -- high density, walkable, accessible to mass transit. I'm always struck by how empty and hopeless the physical environment of the city feels, even in more functional neighborhoods. Detroit's fundamental problem, even before racial tension or economic dependence on a fading single industry, is that it was designed as a low-density city of single-family homes. That's what suburbs are supposed to be, and unless there's some geographical boundary keeping people in the city that's where they'll go. And they have. If you need to get in a car to go to the grocery store, you may as well live in the suburbs. If the city can redevelop by growing human-scale urban neighborhoods, places that are worth caring about and pleasant to be, rather than just convenient to drive by, it has a chance to fulfill its promise.

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