Detroit is well known city that loses its young generation to other cities. Many collage students are leaving Detroit after their graduation for jobs or simply the city is not attractive for career build-up. But I have found some young professionals who decided to stay and live in Detroit. I would like to know why these think differently.
Sandra Yu working for ‘Detroit Working for Environmental Justice – DWEJ’ as a Build Up Detroit Program manager mentioned about 8 reasons to pick Detroit and her 19 friends added some quotes.
1. Most importantly, despite the city’s political leadership, which fluctuates in effectiveness, Detroit’s resilient and dedicated residents, nonprofits, artists, and entrepreneurs make this city worth supporting, loving and investing in.
2. Detroit is the ideal city for the immigrant spirit. A century ago, Detroit was 33% foreign-born, mostly immigrants from Europe and the Middle East. During the Great Migration that spanned 55 years from 1915 to 1970, 6 million African Americans fleeing brutal conditions in the South migrated to Northern cities like Detroit searching for a better life and a fair chance for themselves and their children. Now, immigrants from Latin America make up the only growing demographic in the City of Detroit, and have created one of the densest, most vibrant districts in the city. Detroit is not a city that is kind to the lazy, the selfish, or those who feel entitled. It is a city for the entrepreneurial, the creative, the hardworking, the determined. If you are adventurous, engaged and committed, there is a community in Detroit that will embrace you, make you one of their own and give you a say, whether you are an artist, an activist, a farmer, an inventor, or an entrepreneur.
3. People young and old are choosing to stay in and move to Detroit, attracted by both the challenge and opportunity of a city in transition.
4. A Charter Revision Commission that includes people who are smart and dedicated to making the city work better for its residents and businesses. The City Charter is being revised, and the elected Revision Commission is looking at issues including tax policy, the balance of power between the Mayor and City Council, coordinating the city’s public safety departments, and financial planning and managing limited resources.
5. Leadership and new blood at the City Council that is intelligent, rational, and willing to work with the Mayor and the community for a better functioning city government. In 2009, Detroit residents voted for Council by District, which means that residents will vote for 7 district seats and 2 citywide seats. Residents will be able to make better, more informed choices among a smaller pool of candidates, and be able to hold their representatives more accountable.
6. We have a new mayor, with new executive staff who are ready to work hard and make changes in the city. Of particular interest is that the city is creating the new position of “Small Business Advocate” to streamline the permitting process for businesses that want to locate in Detroit.
7. M1 Light Rail. It is only the beginning, but Detroit will finally join the rest of the nation’s biggest cities with the construction of light rail down Woodward Avenue. However, in order to truly impact the regional economy, we need regional mass transit. Oakland County and the Woodward Corridor cities – Ferndale, Berkley, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Pontiac – need to support regional transit.
8. Detroit is the only city in Michigan with international name recognition. It has an industrial history and architectural legacy unmatched by any other city in the state. The fate of Michigan is tied to the fate of Detroit.
“Detroit is a democratic city that allows all to participate. It is easy to get sincerely engaged and make a difference. The community is strong, active and tight knit. We are a city that is in transition and has the possibility to be environmentally conscious, socially just and fiscally sound. The history, infrastructure and landscape are incredible.” – Phillip Cooley is 32 years old and originally from Marysville, Michigan. He opened Slow’s BarBQ restaurant in Corktown in 2005, and expanded to a second location in Midtown in 2010. He is a co-chair of the Mayor’s Advisory Task Force for the Detroit Works Project.
“Detroit is a diamond in the rough that people are starting to become drawn to again. It has all the resources that any entrepreneurial spirit needs, whether starting a business or purchasing a first home. And Detroit has a tremendous but devalued asset – its international proximity and multicultural residents.” – Christianne Sims is 28 years old, and was born and raised in Detroit. She was the founding director of Detroit Fusion, the Detroit Chamber’s young professionals division, and is now project manager for the Bing Institute Emerging Leaders Roundtable.
“Detroit is worth living in now more than ever! There is a growing spirit of community-based initiatives coming from neighborhoods, NGOs, and businesses. People care not only about their own neighborhoods, but about the City as a whole and its future. What better place to invest?” – Jaimie Philip is a 24-year-old Indian American who grew up in Detroit’s Northwest side. She is a graduate of the UM Social Work program, and now works as training coordinator for the Restaurant Opportunities Center. She lives in Detroit’s lower east side.
“As a doctor, I really enjoy being in Detroit. It makes it feel like what I do counts. There is also a really good sense of community among people who live here.” – Deepti is a 26-year-old Indian American who immigrated with her family to the US when she was 1.5 years old. She and her husband bought a home in Detroit in 2010.
* Due to the lack of space, only four out of 19 interviewees’ quotes are printed.