London’s The Guardian newspaper asks “Why does anyone still live in Detroit?” in an article published last week and authored by a native Detroiter now living in New York.
In the first five paragraphs, the article manages to pack in descriptions of the city’s problems with crime, police response, blight, population decline, lack of mass transit, crumbling roads and water infrastructure, lack of grocery stores and retail, and the difficulty of non-motorized transportation.
Whew. That’s an impressive litany of woes jammed into the top of an article, packaged between photos of a tagged abandoned house and a party store’s outside wall advertising liquor, lotto and check cashing.
In the remaining 2,100 words of the piece there is one paragraph devoted to Mayor Mike Duggan’s campaign promises, the city charter change to council elections by district and a description of how Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has “made blight removal and service provision a priority.” One subsequent paragraph summarizes foundation dollars and other private contributions that could provide some support for improvements. Another few paragraphs describe the goals and challenges of the Detroit Future City plan.
The ‘Live in Osborn’ effort gets some rhetorical love in the article, with a description of improvements planned in that east side neighborhood. The blight removal efforts are as “the easiest answer, though not necessarily the best.”
But the article’s conclusion?
“Perhaps Detroit needs a hero to battle its hydra.”