Detroit City Is the Place to Be

Detroit City Is the Place to Be

The Afterlife of An American Metropolis

Book - 2012
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"Once America's capitalist dream town, Detroit is our country's greatest urban failure, having fallen the longest and the farthest. But the city's worst crisis yet (and that's saying something) has managed to do the unthinkable: turn the end of days into a laboratory for the future. Urban planners, land speculators, neo-pastoral agriculturalists, and utopian environmentalists--all have been drawn to Detroit's baroquely decaying, nothing-left-to-lose frontier. With an eye for both the darkly absurd and the radically new, Detroit-area native and Rolling Stone writer Mark Binelli has chronicled this convergence. Throughout the city's "museum of neglect"--its swaths of abandoned buildings, its miles of urban prairie--he tracks the signs of blight repurposed, from the school for pregnant teenagers to the killer ex-con turned street patroller, from the organic farming on empty lots to GM's wager on the Volt electric car and the mayor's realignment plan (the most ambitious on record) to move residents of half-empty neighborhoods into a viable, new urban center. Sharp and impassioned, Detroit City Is the Place to Be is alive with the sense of possibility that comes when a city hits rock bottom. Beyond the usual portrait of crime, poverty, and ruin, we glimpse a future Detroit that is smaller, less segregated, greener, economically diverse, and better functioning--what might just be the first post-industrial city of our new century"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 2012
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780805092295
Branch Call Number: 307.1216 B512D 2012
Characteristics: 318 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

What looked like Detroit’s end days turned into a laboratory for the future, with urban planners, agriculturists, and environmentalists drawn to the city’s nothing-left-to-lose frontier.

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Jan 16, 2018

"The city is like a living museum, a museum of neglect."-John Carlisle, Detroitblog
Few American cities are more fraught and more burdened by history than Detroit. For a while it seemed like the city of the future as it revolutionized industry and brought cars to the masses. In the 60s it gave us both Motown and the Stooges, but also brutal race riots. Then it became a shell of a city and an American cautionary tale. Michigan native Mark Binelli mines the history of the city, interviews locals, offers up personal insights, and looks at wide ranging topics such as race, industry, housing, arts, and politics. Regardless of how you feel about Detroit, it is an emblematic city and it covers issues that face almost every major American city.
"This is the city where we invented the mechanism by which history has no meaning, where last year's model has no value."-Francis Grunow, Detroit Vacant Property Campgain

FW_librarian Aug 16, 2016

This book was chosen by our book club because all of us frequented Ann Armor and Detroit in the 1970's-1990's. While Ann Arbor was a vibrant college city, we were warned not to go out alone and not at night while staying in Detroit. We would take an almost empty downtown tram to Greektown for fabulous food. We often wondered how a city famous for making the coolest of cars like Camaros and Thunderbirds and for helping create the Motown sound, look so run-down and become so deserted. Binelli shares the history of Detroit including its very beginning as a French trading post to Henry Ford's success and eventual singular-product manufacturing mistakes and the unfortunate progression of politicking at its worse. It would take a group of unique artists and film producers to try and breathe new life in a city that was viewed as an urban disaster. Interesting city-history read.

Jan 13, 2016

The City of Detroit is the largest American city to go bankrupt. This book chronicles ideas proposed "to settle" the urban prairie. IMHO, I would rate "Detroit City Is The Place To Be" at only 3.50 stars.

Only the U.S. federal government can afford to pay for the demolition of 70,000 abandoned buildings and the assembly of large parcels of land to sell to the private sector for the construction of new factories, commercial buildings and housing.

Jan 28, 2014

Great account of past and present of Detroit. Very fair and balanced account of a city with a troubled history. Loads of fun for a local to read.

juggernaut2032 Sep 02, 2013

Excellent read. A multifaceted account of one of the most important cities, for better or for worse, in America. If you are interested in cities, urban planning, redevelopment, history etc., then this book is for you.

Aug 26, 2013

an expansive topic covered in a breezy fashion without leaving out the substance

emily8 Feb 26, 2013

humor, politics, culture, history, art and a great cast add up to a high recommendation to read...


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