There are a lot of sad things about my home town, and eventually I will talk about those too. But there are also a lot of beautiful things. One is this view of the Renaissance Center, GM’s headquarters, right in downtown Detroit, with these American flags arrayed before it and snapping in the breeze on a bright summer day. Not shown, but much in evidence on that day: a festival that had packed downtown with happy visitors and tourists.
Right now Detroit is at a fascinating junction: decades-long catastrophic neglect and corruption meeting brand-new loving attention from Type A newcomers.
It is a place that used to be the Murder City. It also used to be one of the great American places to live, with bustling commerce, excellent public schools and a high employment rate. It still is a place that is part of the American ruins porn tour for globetrotting hipsters – I wish I had a dollar for every smug video on YouTube of tragic neighborhoods in Detroit. A place, by the way, where the venerable United States Patent and Trademark Office opened its first ever satellite office – speaking to the dramatic rise in Detroit-area startups and entrepreneurship.
9591 Iris is not going to just look at Detroit. I will be looking at, and thinking about, my home town, but also the city where I live now, and the world where I live now, which itself is at a fascinating junction. I think of myself as a native Detroiter and a resident of the Great Lakes and a resident of the world. I’ve lived in many places, but this is where I come from.