Foreign Intelligence Briefing #396: The DTES As Seen Through The Bright Prism Of Detroit

February 2, 2012.

I love this short documentary. My neighbourhood is in it, even though it really isn’t. 9 Businesses depicts – yup – nine new businesses in the once mighty city of Detroit, which is still struggling to find some semblance of a renaissance after several decades of decay. While the parallels between the declines of Motown and the DTES aren’t perfectly aligned (far from it), the individuals profiled in the film most certainly are. The resemblances are uncanny. They share the very same goals, inspirations, and vocations of those who’ve recently set up shop in and around the DTES. They’re all cooks, craftsmen, designers, bakers, creatives, and such – all young, independent, and bereft of wealth, but eager nonetheless to inject some awesomeness back into a city they love. And the consequences for them are the same, too. They’re either welcomed as restorers of an urban fabric long ago rent asunder or scoffed at as the foot soldiers of gentrification, even though the realities on the ground are defined more by nuance and instance than the black and white of absolutism. Anyway, it’s worth watching if you can spare six and half minutes.

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