Detroit Tries to Get on a Road to Renewal

Amid old Detroit's ruins, urban visionaries are plotting the city's comeback


Decades ago, Detroit was the U.S.'s manufacturing hub and fourth largest city. Today about one-third of it lies vacant.

Detroit has become an icon of the failed American city, but vast swaths of it don't look like city at all. Turn your Chevy away from downtown and the postcard skyline gives way first to seedy dollar stores and then to desolation. The collapse of the Big Three automakers has accelerated Detroit's decline, but residents have been steadily fleeing since the 1950s. In that time, the population has dwindled from about 2 million to less than half that. Bustling neighborhoods have vanished, leaving behind lonely houses with crumbling porches and jack-o'-lantern windows. On these sprawling urban prairies, feral dogs and pheasants...

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