On one hand, you see a “new” Detroit. Young, white, educated and employed are the characteristics of those who are taking a chance on the city.
They stand in stark contrast to native Detroiters — most of whom are African-Americans and many who are undereducated and unemployed — who have stayed and stuck it out over the years, through challenge and controversy. The native Detroiters, tired of the struggle and lack of change, see problems, while the new Detroiters — armed with energy and excitement — see possibilities.
There are also lifestyle changes: Bike lanes and racks at bus stops; community gardens on main thoroughfares, and pedestrians walking, running, skateboarding or pushing baby strollers well after dusk are becoming common sights. Sidewalk cafes are the red carpets to welcome new residential developments and a Whole Foods, the ultimate suburban stamp.
Urban assets — from abandoned buildings to graffiti laden walls — breed inquisitiveness and intrigue among the new Detroiters, while the same are seen as eyesores or urban decay by those who have lived in its midst and watched the city decline over the years.