Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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INTRODUCTION: Building a Beautiful Wasteland

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pp. vii-xxviii

In the summer of 2009, the editors of Time Inc. purchased a house in Detroit. John Huey, editor in chief, announced the purchase, as well as a yearlong series of articles called “Assignment Detroit,” in an editorial letter to readers included in the print and online versions of Time magazine’s October 5, 2009, “special issue” on Detroit. Huey frames the move as a chance to understand the city, telling...

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1 It’s Turned into a Race Thing: White Innocence and the Old Neighborhood

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pp. 1-37

The website www.City-Data.com bills itself as an informational website that collects, analyzes, and integrates data directed at prospective home buyers from a variety of sources and encourages users to both research city demographic profiles and to submit their own questions and experiences on user forums. On March 18, 2010, a user named Remisc began a thread titled “I found my old...

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2 Picturing Ruin and Possibility: The Rise of the Postindustrial Frontier

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pp. 38-64

During the 1990s areas of postindustrial cities conceptualized as “urban ghettos” served as spatial locations to focus scholarly study of “the under-class.” The consolidation by both federal and state governments of neo-liberal policies, prioritizing privatization and ideologies of personal responsibility, resulted in a scaffolding of the logic of “the market” onto and into government policies.1 Most famous...

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3 Fanning the Embers: Branding Detroit as a Phoenix Rising

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pp. 65-90

One of the biggest stories to emerge from Super Bowl XLV, played on February 6, 2011, had nothing to do with the teams on the field. It was a Chrysler commercial. At the time of its release it was the longest and most expensive ad in history, with an estimated production budget of $9 million and taking up two full minutes of airtime; the commercial was so grand it had a title as ambitious...

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4 Flickers of the American Dream: Filming Possibility in Decline

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pp. 91-120

Contemporary Detroit is the film muse of the decade as it has served as both subject and backdrop of at least sixty short and feature-length documentary films produced in or about Detroit from 2008 to 2014.1 The news reports on Detroit reached a fever pitch in the lead-up to the government bailout of the automobile industry in 2008. This, coupled with the publication of high-profile photographic...

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5 Feeding Detroit’s Rise: Provisions for Urban Pioneers

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pp. 121-146

On November 10, 2013, CNN aired the finale of the second season of Anthony Bourdain’s television show Parts Unknown. As a gregarious and adventurous celebrity chef, Bourdain has become known in recent years for his culinary tourism shows, No Reservations and Parts Unknown. In these shows he features unusual and exotic foods in untraveled places, or finds similarly unusual foods or dining...

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CONCLUSION: The Strait: A Tale of Two Cities

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pp. 147-154

Although the story of Detroit is frequently told as one of fire—a city built from the forge of industry—the story of Detroit is also one of water. As much as twentieth-century Detroit grew through the fire of the factories, the elemental force producing the energy needed for transformation—smelting iron ore into iron, iron into steel, steel into automobiles—is only possible because of water. “Detroit” is French...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 155-160

In a book about the narratives we tell, the backstory to this particular book is the kindness, generosity of spirit, and support that I have in my life.

This story begins first and foremost with the many Detroiters who have been in conversation with me. Although this list is too long to name, I want to thank a few people...

Notes

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pp. 161-196

Index

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pp. 197-210

About the Author

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p. 211