Thursday, January 27, 2011

Michigan's dying cities, a rebuttal

Newsweek's article on dying cities earlier this week has stirred some resentment in Michigan. As it turns out, Grand Rapids is not in fact dying. In a letter to Tina Brown, the article's author, Mayor George Hartwell writes:
Dying city? Surely Newsweek must be joking! Would a major medical School (Michigan State University School of Human Medicine) move its campus to a dying city? Would a dying city have seen $1.4 Billion in downtown construction in the past seven years?...Would a dying city have more LEED certified buildings per capita (2009) than any other American city?

The Mayor goes on to invite Tina to visit the G.Rap for the Lady GaGa concert this spring. Good job touting your cities accomplishments Mayor, but you forgot one key point: would rapper-turned-movie-star Curtis "50-cent" Jackson be buying a house in a dying city? We think not.

More evidence to counter the Newsweek article: James Griffioen (yes, that James Griffioen) wrote a piece for Urbanophile this week refuting the widely held myth that Detroit is a food desert. Who knew Detroit had grocery stores? Well, we did. And you probably did too gentle reader, because you are just that smart. Apparently though, most of the country thinks Detroit is a wasteland of liquor stores and burnt out buildings. You should read James' article so that next time you hear some highfalutin out-of-stater spreading lies about Detroit at a swanky cocktail party, you can pipe up and say: "Beg your pardon sir! The myth that Detroit has no grocery stores comes from several national media reports--NBC, WSJ to name a few--that have said Detroit has no major supermarket chains. While it is true Detroit has no Kroger or Meijer, a quick Google search will confirm the city has numerous supermarkets and grocery stores." Let's all practice that one folks.

Photo via gehad83's Flickr


  1. Also, Huffington Post fail this week too.

  2. We subscribed to the New Yorker for a year that happened to fall within Tina Brown's tenure as editor. We didn't renew. Ms. Brown has managed to finagle herself quite the comfy career, but she is, shall we say, not the brightest tube of neon in the Budweiser sign.

  3. nearly everyone outside of Detroit would disagree with your cheerleading. Facts are this city is full of corruption. Unions and corruption rule the day. The city is a place to leave. The population is shrinking to the point that only the destitute will be left. Sucking any federal grants left. When you talked about money spent over the last 7 years how much of that was for government buildings? Yes Virginia, your city is dying!

  4. So if I didn't know anything about Detroit and drove through it; my conclusion or anyone else's conclusion would be that this is a vibrant and growing city? With all of the boarded up buildings and available for leasing signs woudl indicate healthy growth? The only way one could conclude that the city is not dying is that one would have to be either willfully ignorant or lives in a vacuum. Detroit and michigan are dying!