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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wait, now other cities are being called 'The Next Detroit'?

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2015 at 6:13 AM

Over the last few years, we in the Motor City have gotten a little bit tired of being told we're the new version of another, much more cosmopolitan city. It wasn't enough to bash the city for decades as being singularly awful, now we have to listen to coastal elites fawn over us by implying we're going to become just like them too. Detroit is the new Brooklyn? Not quite. (Although the old Brooklyn and the old Detroit could have been bowling buddies.)

Has the fulcrum moved? Has the process come full-circle? Are other cities now going to become the new us? 

The answer is yes, at least in a new article in the Pacific Standard called "Seattle is the Next Detroit," in which the author pulls together some rather convoluted ideas about the old economy and the new economy, single-business cities, and where things are headed.

One co-worker, who lived in Seattle for six years, said it was the stupidest headline he'd read in a while. "What algorithm released that statement from its bowels?" he asked.

Besides, wasn't it just 13 years ago, at the dawn of the Garage Rock boom, that people said, "Detroit is the new Seattle"? What's going on here?

What's going on, of course, is that great tail-chasing machine known as the Internet, where anybody with a few facts and a catchy headline can grab a readership.

So here's a little suggestion: Maybe we should stop, just for just a few years trying to define Detroit by using other cities for shorthand. Detroit is different, and that's what has finally made it valuable in a world in which every city is trying to be an Alpha++ city. We actually have our own culture, our own folkways, our own attitude.

How about "Detroit is the new Detroit"?

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