Michigan, Detroit Prep Themselves For A New Era

Series: Remaking Michigan, Retooling Detroit
Neva Grant

Michigan — and Detroit — know they have to reset themselves economically.

As far back as the 1950s, some economists worried the Detroit region was too dependent on the car industry.

They said it should work to regain the diverse and vibrant mix of businesses it had before Henry Ford, when Detroit made freight cars, ships and stoves; cigarettes and seeds.

The state is now moving aggressively to develop the industries of a new era: car batteries, health science, green technology and defense. Each of these businesses might employ a few dozen people — perhaps several hundred or a few thousand.

Boosters of the city and the region say it still has much to offer the rest of the country and the world: for starters, a high concentration of smart engineers and innovative designers, and a collection of fine universities to support their work. Urban theorist Richard Florida says the Detroit region has a unique "creative edge and energy" that never went away.

In three days of reports from Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, NPR's Don Gonyea and Michigan station reporters, NPR will tell stories about Detroiters and Michiganders who are imagining a region that might emerge from this stronger and smarter.


Brandon said...

I caught NPR's series here -- another article people have been reading is from the New York Times on Flint and some leaders there considering closing certain neighborhoods to consolidate services in more popular areas. I think that Detroit needs to seriously consider this as well. Detroit can come back, but it likely will not be the same size as before. Incentives could be provided to get people to move to clusters that the city is better able to serve, and other areas can be let go to nature.

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