Detroit, by the depressing numbers

Michigan Central
Michigan Central

I’m not usually in the position of emphatically recommending anything on the cover of the Weekly Standard, but this story on Detroit is too important to pass up, if only because it’s able give a high-altitude view of the staggering failures that continue to define this once-majestic place.

Yeah, you’ve got to put up with a bit of Scott Templeton under-the-bridge stuff but Matt Labash does a really good job of sussing out some of the complexities of Charlie LeDuff, one of the best guys in the business, whose personality seems to be between the gentle inquisitiveness of a Jon Ronson and the advocacy of someone like Muntadhar al-Zaidi (not the best comparison, but the latter is close at mind, give me a break).

If Detroit has a future it’s with the LeDuffs of the world, the sparking, idea-oriented tied to this place who can bring some of the ingenuity and passion back. Whether they’ll be attracted by the blank canvas decades from now when the city is little but a sterile downtown surrounded by desolate blocks or will come sooner, when there are still things worth saving, is the big question.

(Check out the map at the bottom of this article to get a sense of the city’s scale, Boston, San Francisco and Manhattan can fit into the city limits, 30% of which is now estimated to be vacant.)

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