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Detroit Free Press

Detroit serves as an imperfect cautionary tale

Detroit serves as an imperfect cautionary tale

I lived in Detroit for a summer once, in an apartment that was circled by the kind of barbed-wire fence you see around prisons. I wasn't sure if Detroit was being protected from me or the other way around. This was quite a long time ago, but Detroit's decline was already underway, for all the now-familiar reasons: the riots of the 1960s that the city would never fully recover from; the way its fortunes were too intertwined with its dominant industry, the car companies; the unstoppable flight to the suburbs. Still, I doubt anyone could have predicted back then that Detroit would end up where it is today. Bankrupt, above all, but also as this municipal metaphor for —...