Youthful, Creative Detroit Crawls Out of Shadow of Decline

Young creative people are moving to Detroit, launching new businesses and civic ventures that are creating a new identity for a city plagued by associations with decline.
July 7, 2011, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"These days the word "movement" is often heard to describe the influx of socially aware hipsters and artists now roaming the streets of Detroit. Not unlike Berlin, which was revitalized in the 1990s by young artists migrating there for the cheap studio space, Detroit may have this new generation of what city leaders are calling "creatives" to thank if it comes through its transition from a one-industry.

With these new residents have come the trappings of a thriving youth culture: trendy bars and restaurants that have brought pedestrians back to once-empty streets. Places like the Grand Trunk pub, Raw Cafe, Le Petit Zinc and Avalon Bakery mingle with shops with names like City Bird, Sole Sisters and the Bureau of Urban Living.

Those familiar with past neighborhoods-of-the-moment recognize the mood. 'It feels like TriBeCa back in the early days, before double strollers, sidewalk cafes and Whole Foods,' said Amy Moore, 50, a film producer working on three Detroit projects. 'There is a buzz here that is real, and the kids drip with talent and commitment, and aren't spoiled.'"

Various efforts have been launched to lure young people to the center city, where the population has actually seen huge increases, as opposed the the city as a whole which lost 25% of its population between the last two censuses.

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Published on Friday, July 1, 2011 in The New York Times
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