April 13, 2009
Should We Care About Detroit?
Detroit is sick: Unemployment has swept through
the town like a grass fire. The
automobile industry continues to spiral toward collapse. Buildings lay abandoned. Housing prices have crumpled
- the median price of a home sold in Detroit
in December was $7,500 (not $75,000, but $7,500). And, most worrisome,
residents are leaving the city at an alarming rate. Demographers report that
To clarify, I’m not asking whether we should ignore the
people of the
A recent article from the New York Times about the fall and eventual
re-birth of Pittsburgh suggests that there might
be some long-term advantages to letting
Pittsburgh is, by many accounts, a more pleasant place than it was during its industrial heyday. Does it matter that the culture of the steelworker and the resulting sense of place has been lost?
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Shh...if someone in Washington hears you, they might suggest a taxpayer bailout of Detroit.
It's up to the state of Michigan and city of Detroit to fix Detroit's woes. If they succeed, fine. If they don't, fine. But one must be careful not to draw too many parallels between Pittsburgh and Detroit. Pittsburgh never had the heinous crime problems that dogged and still dog Detroit. History shows that simply flinging money at a problem (take public education for instance)rarely works. The entire state of Michigan has been particularly afflicted in recent years by economic woes, ones that predate the financial meltdown begun last Fall.
By the way, if you're really interested in highlighting urban decay, Cleveland's troubles predate those of Detroit by quite a bit.
Posted by: gompers | Apr 14, 2009 6:37:18 AM