Changing Gears is a public media project about the future of the industrial Midwest. Each week, reporters Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland, Niala Boodhoo in Chicago and Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor cover issues of interest to the Great Lakes region. Changing Gears also sponsors public events and conversations.
In just over two years in office, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has grappled with a $330 million budget deficit, watched the Motor City’s signature industry reach rock bottom and demolished more than three thousand vacant houses.
“It’s the toughest job I’ve ever had,” Bing said Tuesday morning. “The only person whose job is tougher than mine is the guy I was meeting with yesterday.”
That would be President Obama, with whom Bing met Monday as part of the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington D.C. During the conference, the mayors took an unusual step of overwhelmingly calling for the president to speed the end of overseas wars and redirect federal savings to their cities.
For almost a half century last century, Detroit was a boom town. Between 1910 and 1950, few cities grew faster, were wealthier, were more attractive to those seeking success than what became known as the Motor City.
But for the past 60 years, the decline has been long and relatively slow — until the year 2000. Since then, Detroit has lost one-quarter of its population, as the 2010 census figures released on Tuesday showed. The decline was equal to one departee every 22 minutes, according to PBS Newshour.
DETROIT — How important is the quality of leadership to the economic vitality of a city? And what role can leaders play in the transformation of our region? Changing Gears is exploring these questions in a three-part series on leadership, starting with the man who may have the toughest job of any big city mayor: Dave Bing of Detroit. He has to keep his economically depressed city running, while convincing residents that Detroit must shrink to survive.[display_podcast] Continue reading “Leadership: Dave Bing Reimagines Detroit”