Detroit, Michigan

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City of Detroit
Skyline of City of Detroit
Official flag of City of Detroit
Flag
Official seal of City of Detroit
Seal
Nickname: Motor City, Motown, Rock City, Hockeytown, The D.
Motto: "Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus"
(Latin for, "We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes")
Location in Wayne County, Michigan
Location in Wayne County, Michigan
Coordinates: 42°19′53.76″N, 83°2′51″W
Country United States
State Michigan
County Wayne County
Settled 1701
Incorporation 1806
Government
 - Type Strong Mayor-Council
 - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Area
 - City  143.0 sq mi (370.2 km²)
 - Land  138.8 sq mi (359.4 km²)
 - Water  4.2 sq mi (10.8 km²)
 - Metro  3,650 sq mi (9,453 km²)
Elevation [2]  600 ft (183 m)
Population (2005)[1]
 - City 886,675
 - Density 6,856/sq mi (2,647/km²)
 - Urban 3,903,377
 - Metro 4,468,966
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Website: http://www.detroitmi.gov/

Detroit (IPA: [dɪˈtʰɹɔɪt]) (French: Détroit, meaning strait, pronounced [detʁwa] ) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the seat of Wayne County. Detroit is a major port city located north of Windsor, Ontario, on the Detroit River, in the Midwest region of the United States. It is America's traditional automotive center and an important source of popular music legacies celebrated by the city's two familiar nicknames, Motor City and Motown. Founded in 1701 by French fur traders, the city was called the Paris of the West in the late nineteenth century for its architecture. Other nicknames emerged in the twentieth century, including Rock City, The D, D-Town, Hockeytown, and The 313 (its area code).[3]

In 2005, Detroit ranked as the United States' eleventh most populous city, with 886,675 residents. The name Detroit sometimes refers to the metro Detroit area, a sprawling region with a population of 4,468,966 for the Metropolitan Statistical Area and a population of 5,410,014 for the nine county Combined Statistical Area as of the 2006 Census Bureau estimates. The Windsor-Detroit area, a critical commercial link straddling the Canada-U.S. border, has a total population of about 6,000,000. Detroit's urbanized area population sat at 3,903,377 as of 2000, ranking it ninth largest in the U.S.

Detroit has been struggling with its economy and depleted municipal resources since the end of the Second World War. Recent efforts to revitalize the center city have seen success,[4] but some neighborhoods outside the central business district are blighted.[5] The city's population, though still declining, has begun to stabilize from the free fall seen in the 1970s and '80s.

Contents

[edit] History

Main article: History of Detroit

The city's name comes from the Detroit River (in French Rivière du Détroit), meaning "River of the Strait," linking Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.[6] Traveling up the Detroit River on the ship Le Griffon (owned by La Salle), Father Louis Hennepin noted the north bank of the river as an ideal location for a settlement. There, in 1701, French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded a fort and settlement called Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, naming it after the comte de Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine under Louis XIV. The settlement prospered as a fur-trading center, and the fort offered protection for French ships plying the Great Lakes.

Francois Marie Picoté, sieur de Belestre (Montreal 1719 - 1793) was the last French military commander at Fort Detroit (1758-1760), surrendering the fort on November 29, 1760 to British Major Robert Rogers (of Rogers's Rangers fame and sponsor of the Jonathan Carver expedition to St.Anthony Falls).

Later in 1760, during the French and Indian War, British troops gained control of the area and shortened the name of the settlement to Detroit. Local Native American tribes, many of whom had developed friendly relations with French colonists, became alarmed at this development. In 1763, several tribes led by Chief Pontiac, an Ottawa leader, launched what became known as Pontiac's Rebellion, which included a siege of Fort Detroit. Partially in response to this, the British issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which included provisions restricting settlement in unceded Indian territories. In 1796, Detroit passed to the United States under the Jay Treaty. In 1805, fire destroyed most of the settlement. A river warehouse and brick chimneys of the wooden homes were the sole structures to survive.[7] Detroit's city flag reflects this French heritage. (See Flag of Detroit, Michigan.)

Detroit in the 1880s.
Detroit in the 1880s.

From 1805 to 1847, Detroit was the capital of Michigan. As the city expanded, the street layout followed a plan developed by Augustus B. Woodward, Chief Justice of the Michigan Territory. Detroit fell to British troops during the War of 1812 in the Siege of Detroit, was recaptured by the United States in 1813 and incorporated as a city in 1815. Prior to the American Civil War, the city's access to the Canadian border made it a key stop along the underground railroad.[8]

Many Detroiters volunteered to fight during the American Civil War. Following the death of President Abraham Lincoln, George Armstrong Custer delivered a eulogy to the thousands gathered near Campus Martius Park. Custer led the Michigan Brigade during the American Civil War and called them the "Wolverines."

Detroit's many Gilded Age mansions and buildings arose during the late 1800s. The city was referred to as the "Paris of the West" for its architecture. Strategically located along the Great Lakes waterway, Detroit emerged as a transportation hub. The city had grown steadily from the 1830s with the rise of shipping, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries. In 1896, a thriving carriage trade prompted Henry Ford to build his first automobile in a rented workshop on Mack Avenue, and in 1904, the Model T was produced. Ford's manufacturing — and those of automotive pioneers William C. Durant, the Dodge brothers, and Walter Chrysler -- reinforced Detroit's status as the world's automotive capital. The industry spurred the city's spectacular growth during the first half of the twentieth century as it drew many new residents, particularly workers from the Southern United States. Strained racial relations were evident in the trial of Dr. Ossian Sweet, a black Detroit physician acquitted of murder after he shot into a large mob when he moved from the all-black part of the city to an all-white area.[9] With the introduction of prohibition, the river was a major conduit for Canadian spirits, organized in large part by the notorious Purple Gang.[10]

A photograph of the Cadillac Motor Car Company Main Plant on Cass Avenue at Amsterdam Street in Detroit, circa 1910.
A photograph of the Cadillac Motor Car Company Main Plant on Cass Avenue at Amsterdam Street in Detroit, circa 1910.

With the factories came labor strife, climaxing in the 1930s when the United Auto Workers became involved in bitter disputes with Detroit's auto manufacturers. The labor activism of those years brought notoriety to hometown union leaders such as Jimmy Hoffa and Walter Reuther. The 1940s saw the construction of the world's first urban depressed freeway, the Davison[11] and the industrial growth during World War II that led to Detroit's nickname as the Arsenal of Democracy.[12] The city faced major challenges during the war as tens of thousands of workers migrated to the city to work in the war industries. Many of these migrant workers were blacks and whites from the U.S. south. Housing was almost impossible to find. The "color blind" promotion policies of the auto plants resulted in racial strife, and simmering racial tension erupted in a full-scale riot in 1943.[13]

Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument of the Civil War with the old Detroit City Hall in the background
Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument of the Civil War with the old Detroit City Hall in the background

With white flight to the suburbs, some of Detroit's inner-city neighborhoods endured a painful decline during the 1960s and 1970s which caused the city to be held up as a symbol of urban blight. The Twelfth Street riot in 1967 and court-ordered busing accelerated the white flight from the city. An extensive freeway system constructed in the 1950s and 1960s facilitated commuting. The percentage of black residents increased rapidly thereafter, as not only did the whites flee the city, but the migration of blacks from the south continued. The city's tax base began a steep decline as retailers and small business owners departed the city in the wake of the riots. Within a decade large numbers of buildings and homes were abandoned on the southeast side of the city, with many remaining for years in a state of decay. In 1973, the city elected its first black mayor, Coleman Young. Young's style during his record five terms in office was not well received by many whites.[14]

The gasoline crises of 1973 and 1979 shook the United States auto industry as small cars from foreign makers made inroads into the traditional dominance of the Big Three automakers. High-paying manufacturing jobs became scarce and acute heroin and crack cocaine epidemics afflicted the city with the help of Butch Jones, Maserati Rick, and the Chambers Brothers. Drug-related violence and property crimes rose steeply, and many abandoned homes were razed as they had become havens for drug dealers. Devil's Night, a Detroit-area tradition which occurs the night before Halloween, evolved from a night of pranks to a night of large-scale arson across the city. Sizable tracts have reverted to nature, becoming a form of urban prairie with wild animals spotted migrating into the city.[15] "Renaissance" has been a perennial buzzword among city leaders since the Twelfth Street riot, reinforced by the construction of the Renaissance Center in the late 1970s. In 1980, Detroit hosted the Republican National Convention which nominated Ronald Reagan to a successful bid for President of the United States.

In the 1990s, the city began to enjoy a revival, much of it centered downtown. In 1994, Comerica Tower with its postmodern architecture and neo-gothic spires arose on the city skyline. From 1996 onwards, three casinos opened: MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino, and Greektown Casino. In 2000, Comerica Park replaced Tiger Stadium as the home of the Detroit Tigers,[16] and in 2002, Ford Field brought the NFL's Detroit Lions back into the city from Pontiac. Office construction surrounding the revitalized Campus Martius Park included the 2004 opening of Compuware World Headquarters and the 2006 opening of Ernst & Young's new offices at One Kennedy Square. The city hosted the 2005 MLB All-Star Game and Super Bowl XL in 2006, both of which prompted many improvements to the downtown area. Additionally, the first portions of the Detroit River Walk were laid down. In the summer of 2006, announcements came for the redevelopment of the Fort Shelby and Book-Cadillac Hotels. On April 1, 2007 (April Fools Day), Detroit hosted Wrestlemania 23 at Ford Field with a record setting crowd of 80,103 fans, which is the highest attendance for an event at Ford Field.

[edit] Geography

[edit] Topography

A simulated-color satellite image of Detroit, with Windsor across the river, taken on NASA's Landsat 7 satellite.
A simulated-color satellite image of Detroit, with Windsor across the river, taken on NASA's Landsat 7 satellite.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 143.0 square miles (370.2 km²); of this, 138.8 square miles (359.4 km²) is land and 4.2 square miles (11 km²) is water. The highest elevation in Detroit is in the University District neighborhood in northwestern Detroit, just west of Palmer Park sitting at a height of 670 feet (204 m). Detroit's lowest elevation is along its riverfront, of course, sitting at a height of 579 feet (176 m). Detroit completely encircles the cities of Hamtramck and Highland Park. On its northeast border are the wealthy communities of Grosse Pointe. Oakland and Macomb counties lie to the north. Alter Road divides Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park. It divides one of the poorest and most crime-ridden communities in the United States from one of the most affluent, with multi-million dollar mansions on Lake Shore Drive in the Grosse Pointes.

The city is crossed by three road systems: the original French template, radial avenues from a Washington, D.C.-inspired system, and true north–south roads from the Northwest Ordinance township system. It sits atop a large salt mine[17] and is north of Windsor, Ontario. Detroit is the only major city along the U.S.-Canadian border in which one travels south in order to cross into Canada. Detroit has four border crossings: the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel provide motor vehicle thoroughfare; the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel provides railroad access to and from Canada. The fourth border crossing is the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry, located near the Windsor Salt Mine and Zug Island.

[edit] Climate

Detroit and the rest of southeastern Michigan have a typically Midwestern temperate seasonal climate, which is influenced by the Great Lakes. Winters are cold with moderate snowfall.[18] The earliest officially measurable snowfall in Detroit occurred on October 12, 2006. Winters are often cold but temperatures very rarely drop below 0°F (–17°C). Summer temperatures can typically exceed 90°F (32°C). Average monthly precipitation ranges from about two to four inches (50 to 100 mm). Snowfall, which typically occurs from November to early April, ranges from 1 to 10 inches (3 to 25 cm) a month.[19] The highest recorded temperature was 103.0°F (39.0°C) on June 25, 1988, while the lowest recorded temperature was –17.0°F (–27.0°C) on January 19, 1994.[20]

Weather averages for Detroit, Michigan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °F 31 33 44 58 70 79 83 81 74 62 48 35 58
Avg low °F 16 18 27 37 48 57 62 60 53 41 32 22 39
Avg high °C -1 1 6 14 21 26 28 27 23 16 8 1 14
Avg low °C -8 -7 -2 2 8 13 16 15 11 5 0 -5 3
Precipitation (in) 1.9 1.7 2.4 3.0 2.9 3.6 3.1 3.4 2.8 2.2 2.7 2.5 32.3
Precipitation (cm) 4 4 6 7 7 9 7 8 7 5 6 6 82
Source: Weatherbase[21] Nov 2006

[edit] Cityscape

[edit] Architecture

With one of the world's most recognizable skylines, Detroit's waterfront panorama shows a variety of architectural styles. The past meets the present as the city's historic Art Deco skyscrapers blend with the post modern neogothic spires of the Comerica Tower at Detroit Center (1994). Together with the gleaming Renaissance Center, they form the city's marque. Examples of the Art Deco style include the Guardian Building and Penobscot Building downtown, as well as the Fisher Building and Cadillac Place in the New Center area near Wayne State University. Among the city's prominent structures are the nation's first Fox Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The Wayne County Building (right) and the Renaissance Center (left) displaying the giant decal for the 2005 MLB All-Star Game.
The Wayne County Building (right) and the Renaissance Center (left) displaying the giant decal for the 2005 MLB All-Star Game.

While the downtown and New Center areas contain high-rise buildings, the majority of the surrounding city consists of low-rise structures and single-family homes. Detroit's architecture is heralded as some of America's finest; many of the city's architecturally significant buildings are listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as among America's most endangered landmarks with the city containing one of the nation's largest surviving collections late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings.[22]

Detroit has an active community of professionals dedicated to urban design, historic preservation, architecture, and investment in the city.[23] A number of downtown redevelopment projects — of which Campus Martius Park is one of the most notable — have revitalized parts of the city. In 2006, a state-of-the-art cruise ship dock was added to Hart Plaza. Grand Circus Park stands near the city's theater district and Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.

Detroit has constructed a three mile riverfront promenade park from Hart Plaza to Belle Isle (the largest island park in a U.S. city) with a combination of parks, residential buildings, and commercial areas. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is spearheading most of this development. It includes the Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor, Michigan's first urban state park. Civic planners envision that the newly reclaimed riverfront with pedestrian parks will spur more residential development. The second phase is a two mile extension from Hart Plaza to the Ambassador Bridge for a total of five miles of parkway from bridge to bridge. Other major parks include Palmer (north of Highland Park), River Rouge (in the southwest side), and Chene Park (on the Detroit River east of downtown).

[edit] Neighborhoods

Old Main, a historic building at Wayne State University.
Old Main, a historic building at Wayne State University.

Detroit has many neighborhoods and historic districts which contribute to its overall quality of life. Several neighborhoods and districts are listed in the National Register of Historic Places such as Lafayette Park, part of the Mies van der Rohe residential district. On Saturdays, about 45,000 people shop the city's historic Eastern Market.[24] The Midtown and the New Center area are centered around Wayne State University and Henry Ford Hospital. Midtown has about 50,000 residents, yet it attracts millions of visitors each year to its museums and cultural centers; for example, the Detroit Festival of the Arts in Midtown draws about 350,000 people.[25] The University Commons-Palmer Park district in Northwest Detroit is near the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College and has historic neighborhoods including Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, and Green Acres.

[edit] Culture and contemporary life

Metro Detroit suburbs are among the most affluent in the U.S.[26] Lifestyles for rising professionals in Detroit reflect those of other major cities. This dynamic is luring many younger professionals to the downtown area.[27] Luxury high rises such as the three Riverfront Towers have views of Hart Plaza and Canada. Examples abound with developments in the city's New Center area. The Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel will include a number of luxury condos. The east river development plans include more luxury condominium developments. A desire to be closer to the urban scene has attracted young professionals to take up residence among the mansions of Grosse Pointe just outside the city. Detroit's proximity to Windsor, Ontario, provides for spectacular views and nightlife, along with Ontario's 19-and-older drinking age.[28]

[edit] Entertainment and performing arts

Fox Theatre lights up 'Foxtown' in downtown Detroit
Fox Theatre lights up 'Foxtown' in downtown Detroit

Music has been the dominant feature of Detroit's nightlife since the late 1940s bringing the city worldwide attention. The metropolitan area boasts two of the top live music venues in the United States: DTE Energy Music Theatre and The Palace of Auburn Hills[29] The Detroit Theatre District is the nation's second largest in terms of seats. Major theaters include the Fox Theatre, Masonic Temple Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, and the Fisher Theatre. Detroit's Orchestra Hall is the home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

In the 1940s, Detroit's blues scene saw the long-term residency of John Lee Hooker. During the 1950s, the city became a center for jazz, with stars performing in the Black Bottom neighborhood.[30] Berry Gordy, Jr. founded Motown Records which rose to prominence during the 1960s and early 1970s with acts such as Stevie Wonder,The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. Gordy moved Motown to Los Angeles in 1970 to pursue film producing opportunities, but the company has since moved back to Detroit.

Metro Detroit spawned a high-energy rock scene in the late 1960s and 1970s centered around the Grande Ballroom with artists like Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Mitch Ryder, Rare Earth, Brownsville Station, Glenn Frey and Bob Seger. The group Kiss captured the essence of Detroit's love for rock music in the song "Detroit Rock City." This rock scene is considered one of the precursors of the punk rock movement, with the MC5 and Iggy Pop's various projects (including The Stooges) being some of the foremost proto-punk bands.

The Detroit area is also generally accepted as the birthplace of techno, which has grown since 1987 through local radio and clubs to dance venues worldwide. Seminal Detroit Techno artists include Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson. This musical genre developed at the same time as Chicago's House music but was more directly influenced by funk and European electronic pioneers such as Kraftwerk, as well as Atkins's own early electro work. Techno music reached a worldwide audience and in Europe triggered a revolution in both youth culture and music industry.

In addition, Detroit's garage rock scene of the 1990s rose to national attention with the success of bands such as The White Stripes, Von Bondies, the Dirtbombs, and Electric Six. In recent years, bands like The Hard Lessons and The Muggs have revived Detroit's historical garage rock scene. A large hard rock scene, powered by it's foremost rock radio station 101.1 WRIF, has also produced marked local success for bands such as Sponge, The Unheard and Ray Street Park. Its hip hop scene also rose to prominence in the late nineties with the emergence of nationally renowned acts such as Eminem, Kid Rock, Insane Clown Posse, Slum Village, D12, J Dilla, Obie Trice, Twiztid, Blade Icewood, Big Herk, and Royce Da 5'9 as well as other artists like Tone Tone and Esham. Detroit Rap has gained international notoriety. Further, Detroit's Soul music scene, largely overlooked by its local media, is widely regarded nationally as well as internationally. With the likes of Dwele, Amp Fiddler, Monica Blaire, and maybe it most nationally noted soul product in recent years, Kem.

In recent years, Detroit has seen fusion between its electronic and rock roots through bands like Melting Alpha Coat and the justin routzohn experience. Natives artists such as Thunderbirds Are Now, Mason Proper, The Novel Citizen, The Great Fiction, and Sufjan Stevens have made significant progress bridging the two genres. These two genres have developed into what is known as indie rock. Local venues like The Majestic Theater, The Magic Stick, St. Andrews Hall, The Shelter, and The Magic Bag have became regular cornerstones showcasing Detroit's indie rock scene.

The city hosts several annual music events, including the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Electronic Music Festival, the Motor City Music Conference (MC2), the Urban Organic Music Conference, the Concert of Colors, and the hip-hop Summer Jamz music festival.

[edit] Tourism

Many of Metro Detroit's museums are located in the Cultural Center near Wayne State University. These museums include Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Science Center, and the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. Other cultural highlights include Motown Historical Museum, Tuskegee Airmen Museum, Fort Wayne, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), and the Belle Isle Conservatory. Important history of Detroit and the surrounding area is exhibited at the The Henry Ford, the nation's largest indoor-outdoor museum complex.[31][32] The Detroit Historical Society at the Detroit Historical Museum provides information about tours of Detroit area churches, skyscrapers, and mansions. The Eastern Market farmer's distribution center is the largest open-air flowerbed market in the United States and has more than 150 foods and specialty businesses.[33]

Greektown in Detroit
Greektown in Detroit

Hart Plaza, between the Renaissance Center and Cobo Hall on the riverfront, is the site of many events including the Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival in late June with one of the nation's largest displays of fireworks and the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. Within downtown, Campus Martius Park hosts events such as the Motown Winter Blast. As the world's traditional automotive center, Detroit hosts the North American International Auto Show. The America's Thanksgiving Parade — previously referred to as the Hudson's Thanksgiving Day Parade — is one of the nation's largest and has been held continuously since 1924.[34]

Other sites of interest are the Detroit Zoo, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, and the Belle Isle Aquarium. The aquarium on Belle Isle is currently closed.[35] The J.W. Westcott II, which delivers mail to freighters on the Detroit River, is the world's only floating post office.[36]

The most important civic sculpture in Detroit is Marshall Fredericks' "Spirit of Detroit" at the Coleman Young Municipal Center. The image is often used as a symbol of Detroit and the statue itself is occasionally dressed in sports jerseys to celebrate when a Detroit team is doing well.[37] A memorial to Joe Louis at the intersection of Jefferson and Woodward Avenues was dedicated on October 16, 1986. The sculpture, commissioned by Sports Illustrated and executed by Robert Graham, is a 24 foot (7.3 m) long arm with a fisted hand suspended by a pyramidal framework.[38]

Artist Tyree Guyton created the controversial street art exhibit known as the Heidelberg Project in the mid 1980s. The exhibit used junk and abandoned cars, clothing, shoes, vacuum cleaners, and other garbage Guyton found in the neighborhood near and on Heidelberg Street on the near East Side of Detroit. Guyton painted polka dots and other symbols on several houses on Heidelberg Street. The city sued Guyton twice for creating a public nuisance, removed large parts of his art project, and tore down two vacant homes he had painted with various symbols. Nevertheless, much of the Heidelberg Project remains today.

[edit] Sports

Looking towards Ford Field the night of Super Bowl XL.
Looking towards Ford Field the night of Super Bowl XL.

Detroit is home to professional teams representing the four major sports in North America. All but two play within the city of Detroit itself (basketball's Detroit Pistons and Detroit Shock play in suburban Auburn Hills). There are three active major sports venues within the city: Comerica Park (home of the baseball team Detroit Tigers), Ford Field (home of the football team Detroit Lions), and Joe Louis Arena (home of the ice hockey team Detroit Red Wings). Detroit is known for its avid hockey fans, earning the city the moniker of "Hockeytown."

In college sports, the University of Detroit Mercy has a NCAA Division I program, and Wayne State University has both NCAA Division I and II programs. The NCAA football Motor City Bowl is held at Ford Field each December.

Ford Field is adjacent to Comerica Park.
Ford Field is adjacent to Comerica Park.

Since 1916, the city has been home to an American Power Boat Association Unlimited hydroplane boat race, held annually (with exceptions) on the Detroit River near Belle Isle. Often, the race is for the APBA Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the Gold Cup (first awarded in 1904, created by Tiffany) which is the oldest active motorsport trophy in the world.[39]

Detroit was the former home of a round of the Formula One World Championship, which held the race on the streets of downtown Detroit from 1982 until 1988, after which the sanction moved from Formula One to IndyCars until its final run in 2001.[40] In 2007, open-wheel racing will return to Belle Isle with both Indy Racing League and American Le Mans Series Racing.[41]

Detroit was given the name "City of Champions" in the 1930s for a series of successes both in individual and in team sport.[42] Gar Wood (a native Detroiter) won the Harmsworth Trophy for unlimited powerboat racing on the Detroit River in 1931. In the next year, 1932, Eddie "The Midnight Express" Tolan, a black student from Detroit's Cass Technical High School, won the 100- and 200-meter races and two gold medals at the 1932 Olympics. Joe Louis won the heavyweight championship of the world in 1937. Also, surprisingly in 1935, the Detroit Lions won the National Football League championship. The Detroit Tigers have won ten American League pennants and the four World Series titles. The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup ten times,[43][44] and the Detroit Pistons had three NBA championship titles.

See also: U.S. cities with teams from four major sports

[edit] Media

An important source for news, the city is the site of the annual North American International Auto Show which hosts the national media. The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News are the major daily newspapers, both broadsheet publications published together under a joint operating agreement. Media philanthropy includes the Detroit Free Press high school journalism program and the Old Newsboys' Goodfellow Fund of Detroit. Wayne State University offers a widely respected Journalism program.

The Detroit television market is the 11th largest in the United States;[45] however, these estimates do not include large areas of Ontario, Canada (Windsor and its surrounding area on broadcast and cable, as well as several other cable markets in Ontario, such as the city of Ottawa) which receive and watch Detroit television stations, so the actual audience ranking may be higher. Discover Detroit TV which airs every Monday at 5:30 on Detroit's PBS affiliate is sponsored by the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Detroit has the ninth largest radio market in the United States,[46] though this ranking does not take into account Canadian audiences.

[edit] Economy

The Renaissance Center is General Motors' world headquarters
The Renaissance Center is General Motors' world headquarters
Compuware world headquarters in Campus Martius Park.
Compuware world headquarters in Campus Martius Park.

Detroit and the surrounding region constitute a manufacturing powerhouse, most notably as home to the Big Three automobile companies. The city is an important center for global trade with large international law firms having their offices in both Detroit and Windsor. About 80,000 people work in downtown Detroit.[47] There are hundreds of offices and plants in the automotive support business: parts, electronics, and design suppliers. The domestic auto industry accounts directly and indirectly for one of every ten jobs in the United States.[48] The area is also an important source of engineering job opportunities. A 2004 Border Transportation Partnership study showed that 150,000 jobs in the Windsor-Detroit region and $13 billion in annual production depend on the City of Detroit's international border crossing.[49]

With its dependence on the auto industry, the Detroit area is more acutely vulnerable to economic cycles than most large cities.[50] A rise in automated manufacturing using robot technology, inexpensive labor in other parts of the world, and increased competition have led to a steady transformation of certain types of manufacturing jobs in the region. Local complications for the city include higher taxes than the nearby suburbs, with many unable to afford the levies on property[51] In February 2007, metropolitan Detroit's unemployment rate was 6.7 percent.[52] In the city, the unemployment rate was 14.2 percent at the end of 2005, leaving Detroit with more than one-third of residents below the poverty line.[53] This is in part attributed to white flight following court-ordered busing during the 1970s. An extensive freeway system constructed during the 1950s and 1960s facilitates commuting. Parts of the city have abandoned and burned out shells of buildings. The city has struggled to obtain funding to demolish blighted properties and the homes.[54]

Some allege that the domestic auto industry's woes can be traced to its own history and devices. The Big Three automakers have collectively lost market share to foreign rivals which many perceived as having higher quality.[55] However, Detroit's automakers have continued to gain volume from previous decades with the expansion of the American and global automotive markets. In 2003, Cadillac outscored Lexus in two of three quality surveys by AutoPacific, Strategic Vision, and J.D. Power.[56] General Motors continues to lead all other automakers in Strategic Vision's Total Quality Index (TQI).[57] Foreign rivals such as Toyota experienced quality issues in 2006.[58][59] In 1994, with a boom in demand for sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, the industry fought the Clinton administration's efforts to impose a 40 percent increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for many trucks and obtained Congress's approval to block the plan to develop stricter regulations.[60] In the late 1990s, Detroit's Big Three automakers had gained market share and were enjoying record profits until the recession of 2001 and the subsequent September 11, 2001 attacks caused a severe decline in the stock market along with a pension and benefit funds crisis. As a result, GM and Ford have implemented their respective turnaround plans. This has caused concern among analysts over restored profits and has fueled economic uncertainty in the metro Detroit area.[61]

Initially, GM and Ford had sought to avoid or delay the introduction of unprofitable hybrids in favor of the all fuel cell vehicle; however, with rising gasoline prices and foreign rivals marketing hybrid cars, Detroit's automakers responded by introducing hybrids. In 2006, Ford announced a dramatic increase in production of its hybrid gas-electric models,[62] Ford and GM have also promoted E-85 ethanol capable flexible-fuel vehicles as a viable alternative to gasoline. General Motors has invested heavily in all fuel cell equipped vehicles,[63] while Chrysler is focusing much of its research and development into biodiesel.[64] Two days after the September 11, 2001 attacks, GM announced it had developed the world's most powerful fuel cell stack capable of powering large commercial vehicles.[65] In 2002, the state of Michigan established NextEnergy, a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to enable commercialization of various energy technologies, especially hydrogen fuel cells. Its main complex is located north of Wayne State University.

With new business in the suburbs, the region is very competitive in emerging technologies including biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, cognotechnology, and hydrogen fuel cell development. The city of Detroit has made efforts to lure the region's growth companies downtown with advantages such as a wireless Internet zone, business tax incentives, entertainment, an international riverfront, and residential high rises. Thus far, the city has had some success, most notably the addition of Compuware World Headquarters, OnStar, EDS offices at the Renaissance Center, and the 2006 completion of Ernst & Young's offices at One Kennedy Square. However, Comerica Bank decided to move its headquarters from Detroit to Dallas in 2007. [66] Quicken Loans is reportedly considering a consolidation of its suburban offices into a new downtown Detroit headquarters, a move considered to be a high importance to city planners to reestablish the historic downtown.[67]

Some Fortune 500 companies headquartered around Detroit include General Motors, auto parts maker American Axle & Manufacturing, and DTE Energy.[68] Detroit is home to Compuware and the national pizza chain Little Caesars. Downtown Detroit also has major offices for Electronic Data Systems, Visteon, Delphi, Ford Motor Company, Ernst & Young, Deloitte Touche, the Jeep and Dodge Truck arm of DaimlerChrysler and GM's OnStar. Other major industries include advertising, law, finance, chemicals, and computer software. One of the nation's largest law firms, Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone P.L.C., has offices in both Windsor and Detroit. Compuware's new headquarters, GM's move to the Renaissance Center, and the State of Michigan's redevelopment of Cadillac Place in the New Center district have provided new synergies for the redevelopment of downtown.

Casino gaming plays an important economic role, with Detroit currently the largest city in the United States to offer major casino hotels.[69] Casino Windsor, Canada's largest, complements the MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino, and Greektown Casino in Detroit. The casinos have brought new tax revenue and jobs to the city, though, the city still has high unemployment. In 2006, downtown Detroit reported $1.3 billion in restorations and new developments which increased the number of construction jobs in the city.[70] Medical service providers such as the Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Hospital are major employers in the city.

[edit] Demographics

City of Detroit
Past censuses
[71]
Year Population Change Rank
1820 1,422 - -
1830 2,222 56.0% -
1840 9,102 309.6% 40
1850 21,019 130.9% 30
1860 45,619 117.0% 19
1870 79,577 74.4% 18
1880 116,340 46.2% 18
1890 205,876 80.0% 15
1900 285,704 38.8% 13
1910 465,766 63.0% 9
1920 993,678 113.3% 4
1930 1,568,662 57.9% 4
1940 1,623,452 3.5% 4
1950 1,849,568 13.9% 5
1960 1,670,144 -9.7% 5
1970 1,514,063 -9.3% 5
1980 1,203,368 -20.5% 6
1990 1,027,974 -14.6% 7
2000 951,270 -7.5% 10
2005 (est.) 886,671 -6.7% 11

Detroit's population increased more than sixfold during the first half of the twentieth century, fed largely by an influx of Eastern European and Southern migrants — both white and black — who came to work in the burgeoning automobile industry. As of the 2000 census2, there were 951,270 people, 336,428 households, and 218,341 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,855.1 people per square mile (2,646.7/km²). There were 375,096 housing units at an average density of 2,703.0 units per square mile (1,043.6/km²). As of 2005, Detroit's population has dwindled to 886,675, representing a 6.8 percent loss from the 2000 Census population.

The City of Detroit has experienced a major population shift to its suburbs. Its population dropped from its peak in 1950 with a population of 1,849,568 to 886,675 in 2005. This is in part attributed to the construction of an extensive freeway system during the 1950s and white flight from court-ordered busing during the 1970s. The city population ranking amongst American cities dropped from fourth largest to eleventh.

As of 2001, the City of Detroit had 81.55 percent African Americans, 12.26 percent white, 0.33 percent Native American, 0.97 percent Asian 0.03 percent Pacific Islander, 2.54 percent from other races, and 2.32 percent from two or more races. 4.96 percent of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. The city's foreign-born population stood at 4.8 percent.

A view of downtown Detroit from Belle Isle.
A view of downtown Detroit from Belle Isle.

The Detroit suburbs in Oakland County and Macomb County are primarily white. Oakland County is among the most affluent counties in the nation. Of the African-Americans who live in the metropolitan area, about 80 percent live within the Detroit city limits.

Metro Detroit's ethnic communities are diverse and include descendants of the French founders, as well as Germans, Poles, Jews, Italians, Scots, Armenians and Greeks who settled during the city's early twentieth century industrial boom. Metro Detroit has the largest concentration of Belgians outside of Belgium; Cadieux Street on the city's east side north of Grosse Pointe constituted the heart of one of the few distinctly Belgian neighborhoods in the U.S. during the early- and mid-twentieth century. In Detroit and the metro area, there is a large Chaldean population and a large concentration of Arab Americans in Dearborn. Mexicantown, on the southwest side of the city of Detroit, is the historical center of a small but fast growing Chicano community, and as of 2007 the only region within the city limits gaining population.

There were 336,428 households out of which 33.9 percent have children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.7 percent were married couples living together, 31.6 percent had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1 percent were non-families. Some 72 percent of all Detroit children are born to single mothers.[72] 29.7 percent of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2 percent had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.45.

There is a wide age distribution in the city, with 31.1 percent under the age of 18, 9.7 percent from 18 to 24, 29.5 percent from 25 to 44, 19.3 percent from 45 to 64, and 10.4 percent who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.

The median household income in the city was $29,526, and the median income for a family was $33,853. Males had a median income of $33,381 versus $26,749 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,717. 26.1 percent of the population and 21.7 percent of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 34.5 percent of those under the age of 18 and 18.6 percent of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

[edit] Law and government

Main article: Government of Detroit
See also: List of mayors of Detroit
Manoogian Mansion: Official residence of the Mayor of Detroit
Manoogian Mansion: Official residence of the Mayor of Detroit
The Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, housing the Detroit and Wayne County governments
The Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, housing the Detroit and Wayne County governments

The city government is run by a mayor and nine-member city council and clerk elected on an at-large nonpartisan ballot. Since voters approved the city's charter in 1974, Detroit has had a "strong mayoral" system, with the mayor approving departmental appointments. The council approves budgets but the mayor is not obligated to adhere to any earmarking. City ordinances and substantially large contracts must be approved by the council. The city clerk supervises elections and is formally charged with the maintenance of municipal records. Municipal elections for mayor, city council and city clerk are held at four-year intervals, in the year after presidential elections (so that there are Detroit elections scheduled in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, etc.).[73]

Politically, the city consistently supports the Democratic Party in state and national elections (local election are nonpartisan). According to a study released by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research, Detroit, is the most liberal large city in America,[74] measuring only the percentage of city residents who voted for the Democratic Party. In his 1974 inaugural address, former Mayor Coleman Young told the city's criminals to "hit Eight Mile Road" (the most prominent dividing line between Detroit and northern suburbs). When Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick found himself behind in the polls in the 2005 election, his campaign tried to draw attention to the support his opponent, Freman Hendrix, received in the suburbs. During one debate, Kilpatrick spoke of higher illegal drug use in the suburbs when compared with Detroit.[75] Many opponents have criticized Kilpatrick on the basis that many of his policies facilitate the gentrification taking place in the city.

Under Mayor Kilpatrick's administration, the city's streamlined government has a balanced budget and is seeing new growth in business and tourism.[76] With a decreased population from prior decades, the city planned a reduced workforce and more consolidated operations.[77] In addition, Detroit had asked for pay cuts and other "give backs" from the municipal unions that represent city employees.[78] In the 2000s, Detroit had fought off legislative efforts to turn control of the city-owned Water and Sewer system to the suburbs.[79]

Detroit's courts are state-administered and elections are nonpartisan. The Probate Court for Wayne County are located in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in downtown Detroit. The Circuit Court is located across Gratiot Ave. in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, in downtown Detroit. The city is home to the Thirty Sixth District Court, as well as the First District of the Michigan Court of Appeals' and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

[edit] Crime

Main article: Crime in Detroit

According to a 2005 study, crime in downtown Detroit is much lower than national, state and metro averages.[80] Still, the city's crime ridden sections have brought it notoriety. In 2005, the city had the sixth highest number of violent crimes among the 25 largest cities.[81]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the city faced arsons of abandoned homes each year on Devil's Night, the evening before Halloween. A large volunteer effort called Angel's Night has brought the situation under control. Under the administration of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the city has accelerated demolition of condemned buildings.[82]

In 2000, the city requested an investigation by the United States Justice Department into the Detroit Police Department which was concluded in 2003 over allegations regarding its use of force and civil rights violations.[83] The city proceeded with a major reorganization of the Detroit Police Department.

[edit] Education

Wayne State University's Hilberry Theatre
Wayne State University's Hilberry Theatre

With 116,800 students, the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district is the largest school district in Michigan and consists of 220 schools. The city is also served by various charter and private schools, as well as parochial Roman Catholic schools run by the Archdiocese of Detroit.[84]

In the mid-to-late 1990s, the Michigan Legislature removed the locally elected board of education amid allegations of mismanagement and replaced it with a reform board appointed by the mayor and governor. The elected board of education returned following a city referendum in 2005. The first election of the new eleven member board of education occurred on November 8, 2005.[85] Due to rapidly declining enrollment, Detroit Public Schools has projected the closure of 95 schools by 2009.[86] Detroit Public Schools has closed 29 schools,[87] and the state mandated deficit reduction plan calls for the closure of a total of 110 schools.[88]

Detroit is home to several of Metro Detroit's institutions of higher learning, including Wayne State University, a national research university with medical and law schools in the Midtown area. Other institutions in the city include the University of Detroit Mercy with its schools of Law and Dentistry, the College for Creative Studies, Lewis College of Business, Marygrove College, and Wayne County Community College. The Detroit College of Law, now affiliated with Michigan State University, was founded in the city in 1891 and remained there until 1997, when it relocated to East Lansing. The University of Michigan was established in 1817 in Detroit and later moved to Ann Arbor in 1837, though in 1959, another campus was established in neighboring Dearborn.

[edit] Infrastructure

Emergency entrance to Detroit Receiving Hospital
Emergency entrance to Detroit Receiving Hospital

[edit] Health systems

Within the city of Detroit, there are over a dozen major hospitals which include the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), Henry Ford Health System, the St. John Hospitals, and the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center. The DMC, a regional Level I trauma center, consists of Detroit Receiving Hospital and University Health Center, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Harper University Hospital, Hutzel Women's Hospital, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Sinai-Grace Hospital, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute.[89] The DMC has more than 2,000 licensed beds and 3,000 affiliated physicians. It is also the biggest non-governmental employer in the City of Detroit.[90] The center is staffed by physicians from the Wayne State University School of Medicine, the largest single-campus medical school in the United States.[91] The metro area has many other hospitals, among which are Providence Hospital, William Beaumont Hospital, St. Joseph's, and University of Michigan Medical Center, mostly in suburban counties.

[edit] Transportation

Because of its proximity to Canada and its facilities, ports, major highways, rail connections and international airports, Detroit has been an important transportation hub. There are three international border crossings at the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. Some 35 percent of U.S. trade with Canada passes through Detroit.[92] The Ambassador Bridge is the nation's busiest border crossing, carrying 27 percent of the total trade between the U.S. and Canada.[93]

Detroit People Mover exiting Renaissance Center.
Detroit People Mover exiting Renaissance Center.
Ambassador Bridge from the Canadian side of the Detroit River.
Ambassador Bridge from the Canadian side of the Detroit River.

Detroit is also connected via Interstate 94 to Kings Highway 402 and to major Southern Ontario cities such as London, Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area along Highway 401. Upon construction and completion of a third border crossing, Detroit and the surrounding area would have a third direct link to the 400-Series freeway network, and have a direct connection to Kings Highway 401, eliminating (or greatly diminishing) the traffic jams that plague the Ambassador Bridge, and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

Detroit is the crossroads for three Interstate Highways: I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway), I-96 (Edward Jeffries Freeway), and I-75 (Fisher and Chrysler Freeways). I-696 (Walter Reuther Freeway) serves the northern suburbs, while I-275 serves the western suburbs and I-375 is a short extension of the Chrysler Freeway. Other major routes are the John C. Lodge Freeway (M-10), the Southfield Freeway (M-39) and the Davison Freeway (M-8). Detroit and surrounding close suburbs are also served by a square grid network of major arterial roads.

Coleman A. Young International Airport (DET), previously called Detroit City Airport, is on Detroit's northeast side. Although Southwest Airlines once flew from the airport, there is currently only charter service.[94] Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), the area's principal airport, is located in nearby Romulus and is a hub for Northwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines. Toledo Express Airport in Toledo, Ohio, is a secondary commercial passenger airport. Willow Run Airport, in far-western Wayne County near Ypsilanti is a general aviation and cargo airport.

Mass transit in the city functions in two separate spheres of influence. Bus services are provided by the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), which terminates at the outer edges of the suburbs. Services in the suburbs are provided by the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). Combining the systems has been problematic and tainted by the racial politics that has affected all aspects of city–suburban relationships.[95] Cross border service between the downtown areas of Windsor and Detroit is provided by Transit Windsor via the Tunnel Bus.[96]

An automated guideway transit system known as the People Mover provides a 2.9 mile (4.6 km) loop in the downtown area and usually operates daily.[97] Amtrak provides service to Detroit, operating its Wolverine service between Chicago, Illinois, and Pontiac. Baggage cannot be checked at this location; however, up to two suitcases in addition to any "personal items" such as briefcases, purses, laptop bags, and infant equipment are allowed on board as carry-ons. The current passenger facility north of downtown replaced the presently unused Michigan Central Station, which was opened in 1913 and vacated in 1988.

Currently, a study is underway to investigate the feasibility of a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter line,[98] which would service the nearly 100,000 daily commuters between the two regional hubs. The proposed system would be funded by a $100 million federal grant that is secured based on the results of the study.

[edit] See also

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[edit] Further reading

  • Bak, Richard (2001). Detroit Across Three Centuries. Thompson Gale. ISBN 1585360015. 
  • Burton, Clarence M (1896). Cadillac's Village: A History of the Settlement, 1701-1710. Detroit Society for Genealogical Research. ISBN 0-943112-21-4. 
  • Burton, Clarence M (1912). Early Detroit: A sketch of some of the interesting affairs of the olden time. Burton Abstracts. OCLC 926958. 
  • Chafets, Zev (1990). Devil's Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 0-394-58525-9. 
  • Farley, Reynolds, et al. (2002). Detroit Divided. Russell Sage Foundation Publications. ISBN 0-87154-281-1. 
  • Farmer, Silas (1889). History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan. Omnigraphics Inc; Reprint edition (October 1998). ISBN 1-55888-991-4. 
  • Gavrilovich, Peter and Bill McGraw (2000). The Detroit Almanac. Detroit Free Press. ISBN 0-937247-34-0. 
  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3. 
  • Meyer, Katherine Mattingly and Martin C.P. McElroy with Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1651-4. 
  • Parkman, Francis (1994). The Conspiracy of Pontiac. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-8737-2. 
  • Poremba, David Lee (2003). Detroit: A Motor City History (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-2435-2. 
  • Powell, L. P (1901). "Detroit, the Queen City," Historic Towns of the Western States (New York).
  • Sharoff, Robert (2005). American City: Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3270-6. 
  • Sobocinski, Melanie Grunow (2005). Detroit and Rome: building on the past. Regents of the University of Michigan. ISBN 0933691092. 
  • Sugrue, Thomas J (1998). The Origins of the Urban Crisis. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05888-1. 
  • Woodford, Arthur M. (2001). This is Detroit 1701-2001. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2914-4. 

[edit] External links

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