August 1, 2004
@ 02:45 AM

The August issue of Playboy magazine has an article entitled “Detroit, Death City” which cites some depressing statistics about this once great city. Excerpts from the article include

“Beyond the murder rate, there are three statistics that tell you a lot of what's happening in Detroit,” says Wayne State's Herron. “More than half the residents don't have high school diplomas, 47 percent of adults are functionally illiterate, and 44 percent of the people between the ages of 16 and 60 are either unemployed or not looking for work. Half the population is disqualified from participating in the official economy except at the lowest levels.”
Married couples head only 36.9 percent of Detroit families. Single fathers head 8.2 percent, single mothers 54.9 percent.

Detroit is 82.8 percent African American, second only to Gary, Indiana. Livonia, nine miles from the city is 96.5 percent white.

Detroit is the nation's number one city for auto arson. In 1999, more than 3300 cars were torched, costing insurers $22 million.

In 1950 Detroit's population was 1.9 million making it the fifth largest US city. By 2000 its population was 950,000.

Detroit's yearly pedestrian fatality rate is the nation's highest at 5.05 per 100,000 residents. New York City's rate is half that.

The author of the article tells the story of his father in-law, a 1960s revolutionary who became a well-known figure in the fight to save Detroit, and his brother-in-law who became a drug dealer. I found the juxtaposition of the life of the father and the son presented an interesting contrast. The article was definitely one of the better things-are-really-screwed-up-in-America's-inner-cities style articles  I've read in a while.

There's also an interview with Spike Lee in this month's issue. This subscription is definitely working out.


Monday, August 2, 2004 11:41:15 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Beyond the social destruction going on in Detroit, there are some other really interesting things happening (other than the apparent move of Playboy from soft porn rag to purveyor of mid-brow social commentary :)).

There's the emergence of "City Farms" on the grounds of former auto-workers housing and the factories themselves:

There's also the collossal architectural and social heritage that some are trying to document and save:

They should save Michigan Central Station just for the Graffiti (it's ironic that it's to become the new Police HQ).

Wednesday, August 4, 2004 4:20:07 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Yeah, the DetroitYes site is cool. There are so many of my happiest memories tied to those places. No matter how bad it looks from the statistics, there are nearly a million people there who have their happiest memories there (and a surprising number of them never have been beyond the city limits). In so many ways no other place could ever compare. I miss it, but then again I wouldn't move back there :-)
Comments are closed.