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they came and carved their homes into the landscape

December 2, 2010

this why i went to planning school, not the garden or the green, but the steel frame in the background.

Wednesday we gathered around a table, eleven of us, six professors and five students; we were there to discuss Detroit.  We were asked, simply, to state why we wanted to be a part of this discussion, to describe why we’re concerned about Detroit and its future.  I’ve been waiting for years for a professor to ask this question, to understand why I want to be here, and even more so for them to hear my response and for them to identify.  I’m here because of personal history, the stories of circumstance, life in a post-industrial city, blue collar jobs, hard work, even harder lives.  The desolation, the despair and the disengagement are not unique to my hometown; this is everywhere.  I guess, though, it is no more obvious than in Detroit America.  Yet amongst all the somber feelings and negative connotations lay for me, and for many of my colleagues, a glimmer of hope, a faint reminder that there is purpose behind this endeavor and that I should persist, work hard, and savor all of it.

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