I've lived in Detroit a long, long time. I was born here, moved to the burbs, moved to Ohio, and finally settled here (with my family, obviously) in 1982. This August, it will be 25 years I have lived here, with brief breaks for school. I've never lived outside the city limits since.
Paul and I joke about my deep cynicsm regarding the city's progress. He'll come home from a meeting all upbeat about this transportation plan or that new retail devleopment, and I'll sigh and say "I've seen like five of these not happen over the years. I'll believe it when I am riding that high-speed rail down Woodward/walking to Starbucks/fending off profitable offers on our house."
In many ways, though, I am hugely optimistic about Detroit's future. It angers me when people deign to come down from the suburbs and turn up their noses because, apparently, it's not Chicago (to which I ask "Did you take a wrong turn at the lake or something? It's never been Chicago."). Or when people write off the entire city with a wave of their hand. Because see, things are changing here.
I've recently met some very cool families (See Sweet Juniper at right, for one) who are EXACTLY the kind of people we need here. They are all five or so years younger than me, and have decided to put down their roots here instead of one of the suburbs. These are bright, educated young families who have the luxury of choice and for various reasons have chosen the city. Just like they might in more celebrated places, they investigated neighborhoods and said "This is where it feels right for me to be." Instead of insulating themselves in suburbs where everyone else is likely to be white, middle class and educated just like them, they dove into the urban stew.
Detroit's certainly not the easiest place to raise a child, and as a reasonably economically secure two-parent family, we've got it better than most. But when things like this happen, how can you not love city life?
Or this--Maggie digs the Candy Band....
In my quarter century (JESUS JUMPING CHRIST) I have lived here, I've seen things go from shitty to kinda bad to worse. Now, it's pretty exciting to see new things rise, like the riverfront parks, that were never there before and that no amount of economic distress can take away. The naysayers can go back to Oakland County and stay there--this is a new Detroit. And I am really proud to be a part of it.