Detroit is one of the industrial cities in which problems are well-known, yet solutions prove difficult to obtain. Once a thriving place with huge manufacturing output, it has now turned into one of the gloomiest places in the country. Unemployment and crime, its constant companion, together with severe environmental problems and water policy, political representation and racial divide all aggravate the situation in the once prosperous city. The issue with Detroit’s economics is really the troubles plaguing the automotive industry of America of which Detroit was once the proud representative.
The city really rallied in the 1980s as the automotive industry rose on the expanding market for cars. However, as the foreign automakers continue their inroads in the area traditionally dominated by local manufacturers, the outlook for the American car producers gets dimmer and dimmer. GM whose bonds have already been downgraded by ratings agencies to the junk level is expected to sink into oblivion one of these days, and other manufacturers can end up being taken over by foreign firms.
This can mean yet another blow to the city. As if this was not enough, the racial issues will likely continue to be a problem. This issue is not new in Detroit. Racial discrimination in the workplace has always been there, despite decades of civil rights fighting, and opportunities opened to African American residents incomparable to those of their white neighbors. As a matter of fact, they were not even neighbors since white people tend to live in separate areas.
Residential segregation led to the disappearance of a large portion of the local population from the city, moving to the suburbs. The city authorities really need to look into the causes of crime and poverty riddling poor neighborhoods and attempt to find solutions to these problems in cooperation with the people of these areas. Thus, they can improve the transportation system to secure access to areas with the largest job growth for those who have been blocked out of good employment opportunities by inability to get to places where they can find better work.
The educational system in the areas can also be improved to jumpstart the chances of the local population to get a better education and a better career through this means. All the basic amenities including health care should be taken care of. To help the poor, environmental problems should be addressed in the first place, and those are connected most of all with Detroit’s water crisis. In 2003, thousands of people faced the crisis when water was simply cut off from the houses in which they lived.
This was caused by the looming threat of water contamination and inadequate cleaning procedures. This situation makes the poor of the city the most vulnerable since they cannot easily replace their drinking water with water bought in stores and are most likely to continue to use bad water from the taps. Overall, the authorities need to sort out environmental problems if they want to secure equality in the municipal area. Politically, there are also issues with representation of various political groups.
At the time, “a community with a rich history of union activity, Detroit continues to look to organized labor as a key component of its problem-solving capacity”. This means that many people turn to unions for support and help. A more active involvement of the majority of population in mainstream political procedures and a more equitable representation of various political and racial groups in local authorities could provide other opportunities for self-expression. Most importantly, the problems of the city should be solved by the community as a united group.
By deciding to tackle complicated issues together, the residents of Detroit can return their city to the past glory. A solid economic foundation coupled with democratic government can help rebuild the city.
Parr, J. (2003). Detroit: Struggling Against History. From Boundary Crossers: Case Studies of How Ten of America’s Metropolitan Regions Work (Academy of Leadership, 1998). Retrieved December 17, 2006, from http://www. academy. umd. edu/Publications/Boundary/CaseStudies/bcsdetroit. htm