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Declining Detroit and Its Solution
Detroit has been on the decline for over four decades with little left to spur it back into shape. Detroit started as a trading and commerce area between French Europeans and Native Americans. A fort was built to protect the strong area and access restricted to traders. In 1760 Detroit ownership went to the British and in 1815 the city was incorporated. In 1896 Henry Ford, the farmer, built his first car and Detroit slowly moved towards industrial status.
Detroit, the once powerful manufacturing giant for World Wars, Automotive cars and stoves is now a depleted pile of dilapidated buildings, high joblessness rate and rampant crime. So much so that civilized folk are afraid to enter the city. Detroit has nearly 3 times the amount of violent crimes and twice the amount of property crimes as the national average. Detroit is also 82% African American, 26% of households have intact parents, with a medium household income of less than ,000.
Detroit isn’t going to get better on its own unless a major transformation and enlightenment happen. Detroit needs a little checklist that it must follow in order to survive into the next century:
1.) Replace corrupt leadership and change the racial dynamics: Detroit is known for corrupt leadership, kick backs, racial affiliations and the encampment of departments. The city has a difficult time working together and utilizes racial overtones every time it has an opportunity making Detroit appear as a “black” only city. Concern for the City must supercede any personal agendas.
2.) Reduce the cost of business: Let us face the facts that business will not move to Detroit unless they have reduced taxes, reduced labor costs, available land and an educated workforce.
3.) Change the focus away from the automotive industry: Grand Rapids is well known for its production of furniture and being a local health care capital. What will define Detroit in the future? Can we still build stoves, planes, medical equipment, and televisions? We must have a strategy that will transform and diversify our local industry.
4.) Stop the “In your Face!” attitude: Rappers, basketball players, and local racial leaders have been portraying the wrong kind of values. They have showed their youth to serve themselves first, be corrupt if necessary, thrown their garbage into the streets, question authority and act immature. Progressive cities don’t disseminate bad values. If you question this logic look at the man relieving himself on a public road mumbling “mind your own business” and ask yourself if you want to live next to him.
5.) Clean up the city: Garbage, urban decay, unsafe neighborhoods, lack of good amusement and shopping have given little reason for people from the suburbs to invest, move into or shop within the city. Traffic moves to the suburbs not to the city and this must be reversed if any meaningful economic reform is to be had.
6.) Urban entertainment and recreation: Parks, music halls, down town entertainment, block parties and the like help to solidify a small city into one group and develop an internal sense of self. People moving to the area want to know that they have places they can spend their disposable income for fun, pleasure and enjoyment.
Detroit has a long way to go before it can consider itself anywhere near a nice place to live. These comments are considered truthful to some and pungent to other but nevertheless they remain true. We can only ask that the people of Detroit and their leaders take head and stop the damage before we cross the very close no point of return.
About the Author: Murad Ali is the two time published author and editor of the Muslim Times at http://www.muradenterprises.org