Editor's Note: As part of AC360°'s Road to Rescue, we went to Pittsburgh to take a look at how Pittsburgh has rebuilt it's economy. You can read Randi Kaye's blog on the subject here.
The possible collapse of Detroit-centered American automobile manufacturing has put Detroit at the front of national conversations about de-industrialization and urban failure and renewal. The buzz has it that Pittsburgh went through this process and has come out the other side, successfully. CNN called me on Monday to ask if I would be part of a segment, shot here on Tuesday, that would look at Detroit from Pittsburgh's perspective. (CNN found me via this blog. I'm not sure how they found this blog, though perhaps it's because I was quoted in a similar story last year in the Detroit Free Press.) The story pitch: Pittsburgh is doing pretty great. How did it happen, and what lessons should Detroit learn? The producer planned to shoot my piece of it at the Waterfront. Massive steel mill becomes shopping mall. How better to illustrate an American story of urban renewal?
On Wednesday afternoon, we did meet at the Waterfront, and we spent an hour or so taping an interview. The piece was shot on a strip of grass right next to the Courtyard by Marriott, by the Gantry, just west of the Homestead bridge. The camera guys wanted to have the river and the bridge in the shot. The reporter (oops - in TV speak, the correspondent) was Randi Kaye.
I am very familiar with both cities. Their situations are not comparable. Pittsburgh has always been more diversified than just the steel industry. There are other major headquarters there and always has been. They make 5 bilion ketchup packets there a year. Pittsburgh has never had about 70% of its population in the city limits below poverty level, as in Detroit. Detroit has boarded up skyscrapers. I was born in Detroit. It is breaking my heart to see the city today. As a 10 year old kid, I used to ride my bike all over the west side when visiting grandparents. That was an earlier time. It changed in 1967 – the year of the riot. When I got a little older, I majored in urban studies (and econ) in college because of the effect this had on me.
Pittsburgh has Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, two big time research powerhouses. Detroit has Wayne State (you can't count U of M which is 40 miles away and in a totally different world). The Detroit region is the most racially divided in the country. Unfortunately, race still scares people away. Detroit is 90% AA, while Pittsburgh has never been more than 35%. Even among progressive people its hard to envision urban homesteading in Detroit when crime is high and city services are lacking, no matter what color the people. I could write a book on this and I might. Detroit is one of the sad stories of our country.
After the Amy Goodman report today with her guest Robert Sheer, this country is not on a road to recovery, its on a road to nowhere. Her report was so revealing about what's going on with all of the high crimes and misdemeanors at the highest level, if Americans really new what was going on, the country would resort to a social movement big the whole government would have to change its course. Anderson, you should be honest and tell the people what's really going on at least Democracy Now and other off the main stream line is doing just that. If you and Wolf and others don't fess up with the truth, you will be responsible for the demiss of this great country because you withheld information that could have stopped this great fall and wht a great fall it will be.
So the answer for Detroit is de-industrialization and urban failure and renewal---good luck on getting the funding--
hi, I am a home owner and need help to fix my house at a reasonable cost young people dont want to work , welfare , churches. They get free food, money so they dont want to work. I am fastrated.
I liked your article Mr Madison. I hope people will click on it to read the WHOLE THING.
When you summed up at the end that Detroiters (is that a word?) should "hang in there", I think that it means that most Americans do NOT want Obama to create a need for more and bigger government; we don't want the federal government to be the answer to everything (after all, have you seen some of the goofs than sit in the Congress?)
With the AIG bonus scandal, we have already seen Obama + the Congress try to "run" companies; Obama is clueless as to how companies work. In a few days' time it's screwed up. Detroit cannot let the same losers who sit in the Congress "take over" the car industry.
But now Obama is off on a trip to laugh it up on Jay Leno, which I think is a big waste of taxpayers' money.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with AC361°