A few weeks ago, the Chicago Reader had a great feature saying there’s nowhere in America quite like Detroit right now. You should read the whole thing but here’s a taste:
They say when the country catches a cold, Michigan gets the flu. Projects that started before the subprime crisis and ensuing global economic collapse have been either quietly completed or left to wait. New projects have shelved while the region watches the auto industry.
Yet even as GM closes plants and Chrysler faces Chapter 11, things are sprouting in Detroit. The city made the New York Times in March not for news about the Big Three but for the purchase by a Chicago couple of a house for $100, on a block being taken over by artists with plans for solar-powered art center and a vegetable garden. The city has a booming urban agriculture movement, and in April financier John Hantz, working with Michigan State University and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, proposed building the â€œworld’s largest urban farmâ€ on vacant and abandoned properties, starting with a 70-acre fruit and veggie patch on the east side. Also last month, a group of local businesses began printing their own currency, the Detroit Cheer, in an effort to encourage local spending. (Model D article on the currency)
…â€œDetroit right now is just this vast, enormous canvas where anything imaginable can be accomplished,â€ wrote novelist Toby Barlow, who paid $100,000 for a Mies van der Rohe townhouse in Detroit’s Lafayette Park, in the Times piece. â€œIn a way, a strange, new American dream can be found here, amid the crumbling, semi-majestic ruins of a half-century’s industrial decline.â€
If you are looking for a home in Detroit, check out the Detroit Realtors Association and also Southeast Michigan Realtors on Absolute Michigan. The feature references Room for 2 Million More at the Powerhouse Project, which says that although there are great deals in Detroit, don’t purchase something without seeing it, no matter how cheap it is. They also call out some of the organizations in the D who are working to transform the city (if you know of others in Detroit or elsewhere in Michigan, share them below):