REFLECTING ON THE 2015 CILIP CONFERENCE
Written by Martin Mullin, Head of UK Acquisitions. CILIP is the Chartered […]
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The fall and maybe rise of Detroit, America's most epic urban failure, from local native and "Rolling Stone" reporter Mark Binelli
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.
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