ONE LAST THING
(DETROIT) Henry Ford said “You can have any color car you want as long as it is black”, and with that he introduced the concept of mass production, mass marketing, mass consumption and the disposable society. So it is only fitting that Detroit became the disposable city. In the 20’s and 30’s the city grew with immigration from the south to fill the jobs. The Brewster Douglass Projects were the first projects in America. Then the war came and bigger factories were needed - the abandonment of the city slowly started though no one saw it happening. The disposable society - “grab what you need and drop what you don’t”. Eventually the factories left the city and left their buildings. Someone else’s problem. Then the people with jobs left the city. They all took their ability to pay taxes with them. Someone else’s problem. The projects were abandoned and there wasn’t even enough money to pull them down.
What was left were the people who couldn’t afford to leave. What moved in was corrupt government officials who lined their pockets with whatever was left. Finally the prairie grass filled in the cracks.
Today the towers of the Brewster Douglass Projects are finally coming down. In the distance are new sports stadiums. Where we go from here is everyone’s responsibility. We can’t afford to keep dropping and running. We need to turn to the frontier within and find a new way. Detroit was the first city to be disposed. Will it be the last?