As America's most dysfunctional big city, Detroit faces urban decay, population losses, fractured neighborhoods with impoverished households, an uneducated, unskilled workforce, too few jobs, a shrinking tax base, budgetary shortfalls, and inadequate public schools. Looking to the city's future, Lewis D. Solomon focuses on pathways to revitalizing Detroit, while offering a cautiously optimistic viewpoint.
Solomon urges an economic development strategy, one anchored in Detroit balancing its municipal and public school district's budgets, improving the academic performance of its public schools, rebuilding its tax base, and looking to the private sector to create jobs. He advocates an overlapping, tripartite political economy, one that builds on the foundation of an appropriately sized public sector and a for-profit private sector, with the latter fueling economic growth. Although he acknowledges that Detroit faces a long road to implementation, Solomon sketches a vision of a revitalized economic sector based on two key assets: vacant land and an unskilled labor force.
The book is divided into four distinct parts. The first provides background and context, with a brief overview of the city's numerous challenges. The second examines Detroit's immediate efforts to overcome its fiscal crisis. It proposes ways Detroit can be put on the path to financial stability and sustainability. The third considers how Detroit can implement a new approach to job creation, one focused on the for-profit private sector, not the public sector. In the fourth and final part, Solomon argues that residents should pursue a strategy based on the actions of individuals and community groups rather than looking to large-scale projects.
Table of Contents
I Some Background and Context on Detroit
1 Detroit's Challenges
2 Detroit's Substantial Assets
II Surmounting Detroit's Fiscal Crisis and Revamping Its Municipal Public Sector and Public School District
3 Struggling to Deal with Detroit's Fiscal Crisis
4 Rightsizing Detroit's Public Sector
5 Reviving the Detroit Public School District
III Economic Growth and Job Creation Fueled by the Private Sector
6 Economic Development through Corporate Relocations, Financial Repopulation Incentives, and Public-Private Partnerships
7 Economic Development through Entrepreneurship and the Creative Class
IV A Vision of and Obstacles to the Creation of an Alternative Political Economy Sector
8 The Potential Role of an Alternative Political Economy Sector in Detroit's Revival
9 Conclusion: Evaluating the Likelihood of Success