Detroit is not the future

Rick Holmes

Tired of the gloating we keep hearing from the right, I come to the defense of American cities in an editorial this morning:

Many American cities are thriving, with property values rising, new jobs being created, and people of all ages and ethnicities moving back to revitalized older neighborhoods.

Some, like Chicago and Pittsburgh, are Rust Belt cities that retooled their economies after the loss of major industries. Some, like New York and San Francisco, are every bit as liberal politically and their public employee unions just as strong as those in Detroit.

Consider Boston, which a generation ago had its own problems with racial tension, white flight and the exodus of manufacturing jobs. But state and city officials worked to rebuild the job base, leveraging the region’s strengths in education, health care and high tech. Reforms have reduced corruption and reined in public employee costs. Schools have been improved significantly. The public, private and non-profit sectors have worked together to create new centers of economic activity in neighborhoods like Kendall Square in Cambridge and the South Boston waterfront.