Detroit: The Host With the Least

Post ImageI’m sure the mood was jubilant in Detroit yesterday as the Super Bowl went off without a hitch. I have to wonder how long it will last though, after reading a very interesting Slate article which examines the city and the sorry state it appears to be in:

Local architects have set up displays in seven abandoned buildings and more than 20 eye-level store windows near Ford Field so that passers-by won’t be greeted by gated or boarded-up shops. In addition, the city has spent money to turn some vacant buildings in the area into temporary memorabilia shops. They will most likely return to their previous state once visitors—and Super Bowl retailers—have left town following the game.

Sounds like a lot of patchwork right? That’s the general vibe the article gives – that Detroit is almost a city in ruins, and they have no idea how to redevelop it. The Super Bowl would have been a great chance, but it seems they missed the boat on that one.

But the main explanation for these missteps is Detroit’s perennial problem: Suburbanites don’t need the city. The resources that most cities offer—high-end restaurants, movie theaters, retail, museums, hotels—are located in the suburbs instead of the city core.

When people talk about the city of Edmonton, there is much of the same – too much development has occurred in the suburbs, the downtown core is dying, etc. Fortunately our city has seen a great revival of the downtown area in the last few years, so maybe Detroit can too one day.

Read: Slate

  • definitely true, we need to revitalize our downtown core instead of just:

    1) going West to West Edmonton Mall

    2) South to Calgary Trail/South Common

    3) north to Clareview theaters/shops, or North Ed for strip mall and theaters/restaurants

    in any case, the one thing we are doing right is building more condos in downtown! fill them up with people with disposable income, and the demand and money will flow back into downtown

    that and we really need to do something about making people feel safer in Downtown when the sun goes down. I’d be a hell of a lot more inclined to spend some time (and money) at a bistro by Scotia Place with friends at 11PM at night (thus supporting downtown urban vibe) if I didnt have to worry about hobos harassing me, or possibly having thugs break into my vehicle.

    Just my thoughts tho

  • As you know I am downtown very late almost every night. For me, it’s not an issue of safety, it’s an issue of "dont bother me". I think a lot of people feel the same way, even though they describe it as "feeling safe".

    It’s just that we don’t want to be pestered for money, that’s all, and it’s perfectly understandable.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Inge, I would be the one breaking into your car.

  • This is insane…not half an hour after I wrote that comment, I walked from the office building to my car (which was about 20 feet, I got a spot right in front tonight) and was asked for change TWICE. Yes, in ONLY TWENTY FEET!

  • I feel a lot safer downtown at night than I do on, say, 83 ave after the bars have closed. And really, let’s be honest. I don’t even lock my car at night anymore (not usually on purpose, but it’s not like anything’s ever happened to it).

    I think the reason I don’t spend time downtotwn is because parking is hard to find without paying through the nose, and it’s not as easy to get to as, say, West Ed (for me, at least). It’s not because of the hobos or anything like that, but it’s more a matter of convenience (as in the places I shop are in South Common, at Southgate, etc). Would I spend mroe time downtown if it was better developed? You bet I would…