A year ago yesterday, the New York Times ran a story on the new entreneurial class committed to rebuilding and recreating Detroit:
These days the word “movement” is often heard to describe the influx of socially aware hipsters and artists now roaming the streets of Detroit. Not unlike Berlin, which was revitalized in the 1990s by young artists migrating there for the cheap studio space, Detroit may have this new generation of what city leaders are calling “creatives” to thank if it comes through its transition from a one-industry.
With these new residents have come the trappings of a thriving youth culture: trendy bars and restaurants that have brought pedestrians back to once-empty streets. Places like the Grand Trunk pub, Raw Cafe, Le Petit Zinc and Avalon Bakery mingle with shops with names like City Bird, Sole Sisters and the Bureau of Urban Living.
Those familiar with past neighborhoods-of-the-moment recognize the mood. “It feels like TriBeCa back in the early days, before double strollers, sidewalk cafes and Whole Foods,” said Amy Moore, 50, a film producer working on three Detroit projects. “There is a buzz here that is real, and the kids drip with talent and commitment, and aren’t spoiled.”
A few months ago Richard Florida (who coined the term "creative class") created Detroit Rising an Atlantic Cities project, funded by Chrysler (no doubt part of their Imported from Detroit project). I can't embed the video here. Richard Florida gets part of the Detroit story right–there are less than a half a dozen cities more important than Detroit as far as its' role in creating the modern world. But what strikes me is how these series imagine Detroit as empty. And then imagine the new Detroit as white. The accompanying images in the New York Times don't have a single African American among them.
Back home in Baltimore, I walk near the Copycat Building every day. Note the same racial dynamic in the documentary clip below.