Thursday, December 20, 2007

Driving Detroit

Today is day 5 (the last day) of Driving Detroit, The Detroit Free Press' most ambitious project in recent memory.

Columnist Bill McGraw drove every block of the city, more than 2700 miles, over the course of four months to get a snapshot view of the surface of Detroit. I personally find this project so interesting for a few reasons. Lots of folks talk about the city's Renaissance, but Bill went into the neighborhoods to see if the reality matched the hype. He took notes on the condition of each block and from those notes created a color coded map.

Another really interesting part of the project is the interactive map. It's integrated with a Google map of the city and has different pinpoints for photo galleries, panoramas and videos.

I'm sure there are people who would have liked a rosier picture, but in terms of showing hope versus decay, I think they hit the balance squarely. The city *is* seeing some exciting things happen downtown and in small pockets within the city, but there are large areas of blight, decay, and abandonment. And despite this, and the fact that jobs are leaving the area, Detroiters are still optimistic. What a city!

Disclosure - I have many friends who worked on this project, so my objectivity is a little compromised. And objectivity is completely out the door because my wife Kathy was a big part of coordinating the photos and video on this project.


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