For years now, the question has been: What in the world do you do with Detroit? Or: Does Detroit have a future? Or put it another way: Should Detroit have a future, or should this poor, empty, echoing, poverty-stricken, job-bereft shell of a city simply be allowed to decay, to become one of history's cast-offs, of interest only to future archaeologists curious about the Midwestern industrial age and where it ended?
For Detroiters, this is no academic question, and so they've come up with an answer. It's called "Detroit Future City," a painstakingly compiled plan, 184 pages long, written by a planning team appointed by Mayor Dave Bing, laying out what Detroit should -- or must -- do if it's going to survive.
Now the fighting begins. The Detroit Works Long-Term Planning Team, which did the report, stresses that, so far, it's a set of recommendations, not diktats. It plans public programs and other fora aimed at persuading Detroiters -- both residents and politicians -- to buy into it. Given Detroit's dysfunctional politics, this is an uphill slog.