“If we don’t change we’ll fail, and I don’t want to be part of that failure.”
– Dave Bing; mayor of Detroit, Illinois; quoted in the November 8 2010 issue of Forbes(1)
Admitting that how you (and everyone else) want the world to work is not how it actually works is one of the hardest things to do when dealing with a problem.
Even harder than admitting you were wrong is telling other people they’re wrong too. No one wants to hear that they’re wrong, and often people have a tendency to shoot the messenger in such cases.
In the case of Detroit, the old way was to assume that (like most cities) Detroit would continue to grow and add population. That’s not the case. And the past approaches of building up a new downtown area, new company headquarters for existing companies, and new casinos or gambling halls hasn’t really helped either. There’s a lot of companies and people who have left Detroit and probably won’t be back anytime soon. According the article, Detroit has lost 60% of the 1.85 million people who lived there in 195o. That’s 1.11 million people who are gone, which is to say a lot of empty houses, apartments and businesses.
So Mayor Bing has started looking at ways to encourage people to move out of sparsely populated neighborhoods and then finding something with the old neighborhoods besides have streets and streets of houses that are empty.
A good article, and I hope things work out for Mayor Bing and for Detroit as a whole.
(1) Joann Muller, “Detroit Must Shrink to Grow”, November 8 2010 edition, Forbes, http://Forbes.com/