For some reason, comparing statistics such as the property values or the crime rates in cities fascinates me. Statistics provide a very informative way of evaluating where to move or where to vacation or other numerous decisions. I recently came across a rather informative site that acts as a great resource for all the major communities in the United States. The site covers a wide array of useful topics, stays current and includes a very busy and engaging forum of discussion. You can visit the site at www.city-data.com. Hopefully, with time the site will continue to expand and include information outside of the U.S. borders.
I have recently begun reading the rather entertaining book ‘The Global Soul’ by Pico Iyer and must say that I am rather impressed. The book focuses on the (fairly new) concept of displaced individuals who are unable to identify themselves with a certain place and locations that have become less and less identifiable to any particular region. ‘The Global Soul’ devotes entire chapters to exploring these relationships in a number of places including the LAX aiport, Atlanta (during the Olympics) and my current hometown of Toronto. The Toronto chapter is particularly intriguing as it discusses the status of Toronto as a multicultural hub and how it has become a destination where a number of people from around the world have found a home away from home. As someone who has lived in several different places within the last 5 years, the book does touch home ever so slightly. Most of all, however, ‘The Global Soul’ is a very enthralling read and one I would highly recommend to those interested in the relationship between people and place.
With the possibility of the automakers getting absoulutely zilch from the U.S. government, one has to wonder what this means for the already suffering city of Detroit. Detroit may be less dependent on the auto industry than it once was (since manufacturing has been in decline for decades), but with the possibility of an official GM bankruptcy, it could send shockwaves through the city. The city recently passed a $47 million dollar stabilization plan for a number of neighbourhoods around the city with the hopes of using a great number towards demolition. Could we be seeing Detroit tearing down a large number of their thousands of vacant buildings? Perhaps this land could be put to better use. Whatever may happen, it’s unfortunate to see a city that has already hit hard times possibly go even further down. I’m certainly not defending General Motors. They had plenty of time to restructue, but the possibilities are grim for Detroit if they do go under.