From time to time, Rust Wire likes to highlight interesting or worthy blogs.
I know I always feel smarter -and more artsy – after reading the Detroit News’ Architecture Blog.
We previously posted on the blog’s video of Detroit’s abandoned Packard Plant. I like that the blog talks about all the city’s abandoned industrial buildings, as well as more traditional fare for an architecture critic, like mansions and downtown skyscrapers.
Chrysler will soon be closing almost 800 of its dealerships.
Those on the chopping block represent almost 25 percent of the company’s dealers, the Detroit Free Press reports. “Some of the 789 dealerships slated to close have survived world wars, recessions and Chrysler’s 1981 federal loan guarantee. Many are family owned.”
Detroit Public Schools has filed for federal disaster relief, The Detroit News reports.
I think this is wise. I think what’s happening in Detroit should be treated similar to a natural disaster. Continue reading
Last month, Rust Wire had a brief post about a fake “promotional” video for Cleveland posted on YouTube. The video sparked quite a discussion, both on this web site and within Cleveland.
I thought it was somewhat humorous, but many didn’t like it. Some Rust Wire readers pointed out that humor like this can hurt the city and its image, others said we should be able to laugh at ourselves once in awhile. (It even prompted Cleveland’s tourism and promotional agency, Positively Cleveland, to launch a contest to make a more positive video.)
Well, if you didn’t like the video, be prepared to hate this article from humor publication The Onion, titled, “Detroit Mayor Throws First Brick in Glass-Breaking Ceremony for New Slum.”
A Detroit News story today about an effort to reform a Detroit Public School caught my eye. The story was about Osborn High School, where only 4 percent of students passed the math and writing portions of the Michigan merit exam last year.
Did you know what the graduation rate in Detroit Public Schools is? 37.5 percent! The lowest in the country. Continue reading
Amber Arellano says it better than I ever could in today’s Detroit News.
“It’s tough for some folks to understand that many of us want to be here [in Detroit]. We didn’t end up here by inertia or lack of vision or better options. We’re educated and mobile; we can live anywhere. We choose to stay — or to return.”
“We return because we love the people and the culture. We stay because we’re proud of our roots, of who we are. We’re not naïve about this region’s daunting challenges; we’re choosing to tackle them. We’re committed to our families and communities.” Continue reading
Today’s New York Times has a story on how the auto-industry downturn and layoffs have even impacted some of Detroit’s wealthiest suburbs.
Photographer Bruce Gilden shines a light on the situation in Detroit in this Magnum photo essay and it’s not pretty. Actually, it’s really, really scary.
There’s a few things I like about this though.
My friend Claudia, who is originally from England, wanted to take a trip to Detroit. On Saturday, I volunteered to be her “guide.”
Our first stop was the city’s famed Eastern Market. We took a guided walking tour of the neighborhood with Preservation Wayne, a group that offers a number of tours of the city.
Volunteers went to work this weekend maintaining an urban farm on vacant lands in Detroit, The Detroit News reports.
Earthworks, part of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, comprises three parcels totaling 1 1/2 acres that yield lettuce, carrots, peas, beets, cabbage and other small-scale crops.
Children digging for potatoes at Earthworks
These days, all eyes are on Detroit for all the wrong reasons. I’m keeping my eyes out for dialogue that is constructive.
This is a refreshing take on the city’s problems from those who know it best: city residents.This video features Detroit rappers Invincible and Finale as well as members of the community sharing memories about the decline in Detroit and their dreams for the future.
Continued after jump…
Take a look at this web site, 100 Abandoned Houses, with pictures by Detroit photographerKevin Bauman.
CNN is reporting that manufacturing orders have stabilized and the industry will likely undergo an uptick.
Tempe-based Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index is beginning to climb after a 15-month slump.
“This is definitely a good start for the second quarter,” said the institute’s Norbert Ore.
The same cannot be said for automakers. Continue reading
An always popular topic on Rust Wire is the fate of Detroit’s long vacant Michigan Central Station, which the city council has voted to demolish.
Check out this amazing and beautiful video from the Detroit Free Press. You can also go on a virtual tour of the station by following this link.
By now you have heard: The White House is forcing Chrysler into Chapter 11. Hold onto your chairs, kids, it’s gonna be a wild ride.
Workers will continue to be paid and provided with benefits, Obama administration officials said. The White House is going to loan the embattled maker of the Town & Country another $7.5 billion.
The UAW is urging bankruptcy court to retain the union contracts, The Detroit news reports. The UAW actually stands to gain from all of this forced reorganization, oddly enough. In the restructuring plans proposed this week, the UAW has been given a one-half stake in Chrysler and a one-third stake in General Motors, The New York Times reports.
This agreement is not sitting well with bond holders. Continue reading
So the big news today is that the Obama Administration is conducting a forced “reorganization” of General Motors (R.I.P. Pontiac).
The Plain Dealer reports that GM will cut 21,000 jobs and close 42 percent of its dealerships. A lot of bond holders are angry with the deal and feel they’re being shortchanged. Meanwhile, retiree healthcare benefits are in jeopardy if the company enters Chapter 11, which is a real possibility.
Rather than blast Obama, The Detroit News today writes about the efforts the president is making to soften the blow for Michigan. Continue reading
The city of Detroit has unveiled a local currency, according to Model D media.
We’ve written about Toledo’s buy local movement. Printing a local currency takes the buy-local economic development notion to its highest level.
The exchange of local currency requires a commitment from buyers to spend their money at local merchants.
Many communities from Ithaca, New York to Pittsboro, N.C., have resorted to this Depression-era concept to stimulate the local economy, USA Today reports. Continue reading
When I was a little girl my mom used to sing me an old cheer called “We’re Strong for Toledo.” My grandma used to sing me John Denver’s “Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio.” The songs portrayed two very different cities: one a proud metropolis, the other a laughing stock.
I thought it might be interesting to look at the most famous songs devoted to Rust Belt as a way to examine how these cities are portrayed in pop culture, and also how that image has changed over the years.
For example, the song my mother used to sing to me, judging by the slang, was written in the 1950s or sooner, Toledo’s heyday. It goes like this: Continue reading
Kudos to Portfolio magazine writer Ryan Avent for challenging the flawed consensus among economists about the government’s role in declining post-industrial cities.
We published a New York Times article several weeks ago from economist Edward Glaeser who that said migration away from Rust Belt cities was healthy in terms of economic efficiency. Any special government aid to Rust Belt cities such as Detroit would only delay necessary economic mobility.
This is how the argument goes: basically, the faster people leave Buffalo and Detroit and Ohio and Indiana and their high unemployment rates for growing areas with lower joblessness, the better for everyone, because unemployment is an inefficient use of resources. This has been the general consensus among economists.
We brought you this story over one month ago, but it’s nice to see the trend of artists recolonizing foresaken Rust Belt neighborhoods is garnering some national attention.
The Wall Street journal reports today on a New York couple who purchased a home in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood, converting it into a home/studio/band space.
Cleveland's Michael Di Liberto and Sunia Boneham.