One Detroit Rises, While the Other Falls

Monica Davey describes the divergent paths of Detroit's public and private sectors.
March 7, 2013, 9am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Around the country, as businesses have recovered, the public sector has in many cases struggled and shrunk," says Davey. "Detroit may be the most extreme example of a city’s dual fates, public and private, diverging."

"At times, the widening divide has been awkward, even tense," she explains. "As private investors contemplated opening coffee bean roasters, urban gardening suppliers and fish farms, Detroit firefighters complained about shortages of equipment, suitable boots and even a dearth of toilet paper."

“'You’ve got to walk before you run, and for many years we weren’t even walking,' William C. Ford Jr., executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company, said of the developments of late within Detroit’s private sector. 'But now it’s really interesting. Even as the political and financial situations continue to deteriorate, in spite of that, there is very hopeful business activity taking place.'”

While economic growth has been narrowly focused, demographically and geographically, some are optimistic that the government realignment will allow the public sector to turn in the same, upward direction as industry. Amid the uncertainty, there are also fears that the effects of the sweeping changes may be inescapable for businesses.  

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Published on Monday, March 4, 2013 in The New York Times
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