More News from Detroit...

Here's a link to a Detroit NPR report on the documentary, Detroit: Ruin of a City. George Steinmetz from the University of Michigan, and one of the film's producers, says...

It's a mythic city for African-American culture and politics and it's a mythic city for certain kinds of modernism in art - Diego Rivera's DIA murals are world-renowned. Lafayette Park by Mies van der Rohe is world-renowned. This is a city that has been a glorious city. I've always loved this city, but I'm distressed by the abandonment.

Check it out. There is audio interview in that link, too. The documentary's debut was Friday in Ann Arbor. Follow the reviews from the blogs below.

The filmmakers take French sociologist Wacquant on a tour of the city remarked...

Why are you building new structures, spending millions of dollars building new sports structures and entertainment centers, when you have the historic heritage of the city's right here abandoned across the street. To a European it's totally incomprehensible. Wacquant is nearly speechless as he gazes at vacant houses with sagging porches and trails of stained brick leading from the walls to the weed-choked lawns.

Make sure to check out these Detroit sites, for additional urban news...and reviews of the film, Detroit: Ruin of a City.

  • Detroit Yes
    • Here there is an extensive discussion about the debut of the film Detroit: Ruin of a City. Just scroll down to the 29th conversation. 90 different impressions of the film.
Momuments to political impotence!
Can it happen here?
Feel free to leave your comments...

Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006


Craig Howard said...

The "reviews" tend to focus too much on the artistic merit of the documentary and not enough on the reasons that Detroit collapsed. And race cannot be ignored.

Buffalo in 2005 is roughly 1/2 black and 1/2 white; while Detroit is virtually all black. Both were all white a century ago. Why did Detroit's white middle class flee when Buffalo's didn't (to the same extent)?

That racial imbalance combined with the terrible economic situation has allowed a corrupt government to take power (much as in D.C.) that has turned the city into an economic dead zone where the only chance for employment is a city job.

It's nothing new. When the Irish got their chance, they took it. Same for the Italians in an earlier time. African-American politicians know that it's their turn now.

Detroit has killed itself. The big businessmen have contented themselves with building monuments (Renaissance Center) and the politicians have concentrated their power by handing out high-paid jobs that have no economic reason to exist.

I posted on it here. When race guilt replaces common sense, everyone loses. Everyone in Buffalo should see this documentary.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the buffalo area and am now 40. I remember the factories running and the smoke from the factories. I left for several reasons not just one. I saw a city where you could get a meal and do something at any hour day or night become a ghost town at night. I remember going to Neisner Brothers, Kleinhans, and the Ellicott square building with my parents, the street was packed with shoppers. Slowly I saw the people leave, the stores close and the streets empty. I remember picking up relatives at D & L railroad station and the Buffalo terminal but slowly the trains disappeared. There are more good things I remember but to me they are all ghosts from the past. I will be to Buffalo soon for a family reunion when like Buffalo at its peak there would be more than 300 people at my grandparent’s farm. Now the farm is sold and only 40 or so show up to a park. Some of the reasons why I left and was never to return are as fallows. I wanted to go to college and at 18 had to pay for it myself as my parents were laid off. No financial aide for me as they made too much before they were laid off. They would never get good jobs again. They were to live in a large house and barely able to keep it. I was looking at$2,000 tuition here and less than $100 in CA. I could not find a job and finally got one at a filling station in winter and it took 4 months of trying to get that. .I froze that winter and vowed to never live in Buffalo again. I could only find a rusted car that 3 months later the frame broke. I have never seen a car rust in CA. I have a house I paid $100,000 for the value of my mothers in NY. My taxes are $1,100 total a year and hers are $3,800. Her heating bills can run $500 a month. I have never been without a good job and my cars do not rust IN CA. There are more family members than before but they have scattered and refuse to return. I drive through the city and see a grizzly reminder of what was. In my opinion if you have harsh weather you need to offset it by positives, to me Buffalo has not. What I mean is low taxes (both private and business), good jobs, low education costs and more things. I ask, what does Buffalo offer? It has to have more to offer than other places to offset the harsh winters. I saw companies get no taxes in the south and lower wages while Buffalo raised its taxes and the unions would not let up so in the end all lost out. I see crown that is now tarnished, lost its jewels and only part of the frame remains.