I’m fascinated by Detroit in an abstract sense. I say “abstract” because I know virtually zero about the situation. Every little thought currently rebounding around my skull is based in supposition and the charmed way my mind sculpts the world around me. My “knowledge” of Detroit (that could be increased massively by a 5 minute googling) is that the city has basically collapsed. Essential services have been retracted from everywhere outside of the downtown core and close suburbs. Running water, public transport and electricity don’t apply outside of a certain centre radius, which is a bummer considering that h0uses are plenty cheap. Who said our generation will never own property? A one-two punch of disenfranchisement and ill-equipped law enforcement (and probably 15 other factors I haven’t come close to cosnidering) has enabled crime to soar, leaving it a severely shit place to live.
However much truth there is to my version of events, isn’t that still fascinating?
Whatever’s happening down there, a formerly buoyant city imploding seems unreal in this day and age. If anything’s gonna bring it out of this rut, it’s likely gonna be a massive sweeping revolution as opposed to incremental growth over time. Detroit’s resurgence seems like an inspiring This American Life episode in the making. It kind of makes me wish I knew more about economics and the impact of societal events on a city’s fiscal lifeblood. It’d be riveting to track exactly what happened in order for Detroit to arrive at its current situation. Like some zombie contagion that started off small then grew exponentially, Detroit seems like it must’ve crumbled step by step, until those steps became strides, leaps and bounds towards catastrophe.
What I’m most taken by are notions of how to turn things around. If life were sci-fi (3D printing exists, I’m not convinced life isn’t sci-fi) I’m sure Detroit would become the epicentre for medical experimentation and gene splicing. Taking advantage of the desperate and needy, we’d either finally have Soylent Green or ways to grow additional limbs. Detroit could be the first city to resemble the MCU. The X-Men and other genetic abnormalities could rise to combat/commit crime in a world who hated and feared them. So much possibility.
The idea I had that I thought would be pretty rad is if the city was inundated with hippies/hipsters bent on turning Detroit into a new sustainable urban farming metropolis. Living off the land, reclaiming the earth back from grey, polluted civilisation. The formerly smoggy automobile manufacturer could pivot to foster new life. Livestock, food-bearing plant matter and harvestable crops could exist in the same general topography as a bleak cityscape. Wouldn’t that be bitchin’?
Ultimately it’s all bystander speculation for my own entertainment. Like Serial, when thinking about this kind of thing, it’s easy to forget that at the end of the day you’re talking about a community and people that still exist. Just because the situation is enthralling, that doesn’t mean it fails to affect real people in the world. What would they benefit from more than I’d enjoy the opportunity for knowledge?