Requiem For Detroit?

8.6/10 based on 29 votes

This is a documentary about the decay and industrial collapse of Detroit, which used to be America’s fourth largest city. With about 700,000 residents today, the numbers have declined dramatically since Detroit’s prime when it was home to close to 2 million residents. Things went wrong for Detroit. Very wrong. And many have left the city in search of better living conditions and that has the city in an alarming state.

Detroit used to be a city of champions — a city that manufactured products that revolutionized our way of living. When the automobile industry arrived in Detroit about 100 years ago, strong forces of mass production and consumerism were unleashed and it spelled success. The car revolutionized the geography, transformed the way people saw themselves, and jump-started the American dream. In the 20th century, the arrival of the automobile industry fueled Detroit’s explosive growth. Even the first automobile plant to implement the moving assembly line, which was the key to mass production, was built in Detroit in 1913.

The presence of the automobile industry in Detroit opened the door for many different types of businesses and companies. This made the city explode in prosperity. But when the price of gasoline spiked, the gas guzzling sports utility vehicle market was decimated. Shortly after that, the housing market in the United States collapsed and then there was the global economic meltdown to make matters worse. Detroit was unable to survive this triple attack and the city began to fall apart. People were left without jobs and crime skyrocketed. Whoever as able to leave, left.

The city that was once referred to as the frontier of the American dream and the Paris of the Midwest is now in ruins as a warning to the industrialized world. How did things go so wrong for Detroit and what can we learn in order to avoid something like this from happening again?

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Discuss This Documentary

  • peatstack

    Thought provoking that rapacious capitalism and racism have rendered more damage on to US cities than a world war. All the cities and industrial areas of Germany bombed out when Detroit was in its prime, are now in their prime whilst detroit is as bombed out. To the shame of the american system of corporate socialism, it has squandered resources on an unprecedented scale.

  • Detroit is one of the biggest social engineering failures in the modern history. It is to my opinion that the efficiency of modern medicine has contributed to the city demise. Here is the project that describes how this could happen http://prevmed.big.ac.cn. If only we could bring tenants of the old Detroit back to the empty city, the future might be different (better?).

  • Jane Fleming

    Where can we see the best BBC documentaries again

  • Jane Fleming

    This video contains content from BBC Worldwide, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.

  • Very thought provoking!

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