Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Detroit Lives!

Thanks to Rust Wire for pointing me at this simply amazing half hour short film called “Detroit Lives.” It’s very highly recommended. This video transcends the typical narrow focus on urban decay to provide an overall uplifting message about the city.

The video is put out by Palladium Boots, presumably as a promotional tool. They have several other interesting looking videos, such as “The Ruins of New York.”

Unfortunately, they rolled their own video player instead of using Vimeo or something, meaning these videos won’t display for you if you are on a platform like Google Reader. So click on over to the web site to watch – and hope you aren’t on an iPhone.

Jim Russell thinks the film makers should have gone to Youngstown. Too bad for that city that they don’t have the power of “Brand Detroit.”

Though a lot of the examples in the film are old hat, it is very exciting to see the Urban Laboratory/New American Frontier/Rust Belt Chic meme continuing to spread like crazy. I’m telling you, for many people now is the time to be alive in many of these Rust Belt cities. How often do you have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor like this, to be a pioneer, to be a founder? This is the generation and these are the people that will be written about in tomorrow’s history books. The call of being able to shape history is worth more than all the triple soy half-caf lattes you could sip by the light rail in some other city where your presence won’t make one bit of difference good or bad.

More Detroit

Topics: Civic Branding, Historic Preservation, Talent Attraction, Urban Culture
Cities: Detroit

7 Responses to “Detroit Lives!”

  1. It’s great. I watched this yesterday, and it helped me out of my dark mood.

    I have a personal story that somewhat correlates to your summation this video. About a decade ago in my greener days, I worked for the Hoosier Environmental Council. The canvass director conveyed a similar sentiment about the reason for working in Indiana as opposed to the coasts. If you want to have an impact and change things, you have a great opportunity here, as you are working against the grain instead of being one of many. This can also be applied to urban revitalization.

  2. Darlene says:

    Keep writing GREAT stuff! This is so pride-regenerating/building and inspirational for anyone in the area or who wants to leave a legacy in this community. I live well outside of the Detroit city limits. Yet Detroit is still “my city” and I am motivated to answer the call to shape history. There is so much opportunity in Detroit! It just takes an open mind, a positive outlook, and a hopeful spirit to see. And a willingness to get involved–in any way, big or small–to make a difference.

  3. EJ says:

    Very inspiring post, Aaron. I’d argue with Jim Russell that Youngstown, along with Canton, Toledo, Buffalo and Pittsburgh among others, could still be part of a video series featuring the actual positive developments taking place within reviving and resurgent Rust Belt cities. Like the first shoots of new plants breaking through the thawing soil in late February, the rebirth in the Rust Belt is indeed happening now, and this is the time to be a pioneer in the region.

    Within 10 or 15 years, the Rust Belt could be thriving in a new way (should we call it the Green Belt then?) and people from elsewhere in the country could be flocking here, or at least will be seeking answers here for the myriad crises in their own home regions. Cleveland, Akron and Detroit, for instance, with their abundant fresh water reserves could suddenly look very attractive to people in Phoenix and Tucson who may be dying of thirst… literally. I somehow don’t think, however, that a pipeline from Lake Erie or Lake Michigan will be forthcoming.

  4. Everett says:

    These films are great to watch. My only quibble is that for a film series that purports to show how great Detroit is and can be, there is far too much ruin porn on the “B” roll footage.

    Check out Lemonade: Detroit instead.

  5. Paul says:

    I love the idea of keeping the train station in a state of disrepair and developing an amphitheatre among other things nearby. The train station becomes a monument.

  6. Wad says:

    I didn’t know of any better place to put this Detroit-related item. It’s from the campaign trail of the California governor’s race.

    The Detroit Mayor’s office upbraided GOP candidate Meg Whitman for comparing the city to Fresno.

  7. Dwight says:

    This is one of the best presentations yet on the energy and potential of this great city. Detroit as a city of dream makers is a right message

The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. It's great for anyone who cares about our cities.

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