Detroit is a microcosm of urban America. In 1950, Detroit city and the metropolitan area had a population of 1.85 million and 3.35 million respectively. By the year 2000, the urban population was 950.000 and the region grew to 4.740.000. In the fifties, Ford Motors moved their headquarters to Dearborn. In seventies, K-Mart moved their headquarters to Troy. In the nineties, Chrysler relocated their headquarters to Auburn Hills.
In the year 2000, US Census Data shows an urban unemployment rate of 13% and a metropolitan area rate of <6%. The median income was $29.500 in the city and $49.175 for the Deroit metro area, including the city. In Detroit city college graduates made up less than 11% of the population. In the Detroit metroplitan area including the city, the percentage is at 22%. According to 2002 US Census data, the national average for college graduates is 26.2%.
Detroit professional basketball and football teams built new stadiums in Pontiac and Auburn Hills. Only the major league baseball and hockey teams continue to play in downtown. The Tigers recently built a new stadium on the near west side. The Red Wings continue to play downtown at Joe Louis Arena.
Outside the city, affluent suburbs such as Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, and Grosse Point compete with Detroit for residents and resources. Inside the city, downtown renovation enters its second phase, thirty years after the Renaissance Center building failed to bring prosperity back to the inner city. Windsor Ontario sits across the Detroit River. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is located a safe 42 miles west of the Detroit.
Inside the city, Greektown and casino gambling are the major attractions. The length of Greektown is only three blocks, and there are many fine restaurants in the area. Next to Greektown are casinos. There is the Greektown Casino, MGM Grand and Motor City Casino. Joe Louis Arena and Cobo Hall are located in the middle of downtown. Every spring, Cobo Hall hosts the Auto Show.
I spent almost two years in Detroit on a variety of projects: IT Strategy, Picture Archiving Communication Systems (PACS), and Statistical Analysis.
One of my funnier Detroit stories comes from my co-workers. I was picking up team members from Austin and Phoenix. As we drove along Interstate-94 from Detroit Metro Airport towards the Renaissance Center and downtown, they saw the refineries and ramshackle housing along the expressway. One of them quietly asked, 'where are you taking us?' I replied, 'we are going to work, and it is in downtown.' 'Don't be scared, the parking garage is connected to the office.' We stayed at the Marriott in the Renaissance Center for one week, before we all moved to the Hyatt in Dearborn, Michigan.