tamias6

Will Grand Rapids replace Detroit?

11 posts in this topic

I really don't need to say that the motor city is in a whole world of hurt right now. I think every Michigander knows what's going on in the motor city all of the issues across the board it needs to face and overcome. So I really don't want to join the gloom and doom bandwagon or play the funeral dirge yet. I'll leave that to economic experts to asset Detroit's fate. But either way this opens up the question. Will Grand Rapids replace Detroit as Michigan's number 1 city?

 

Seems to be allot of things going for GR right now. We have medical mile that's bringing in jobs. we have a downtown area and Heartside that has been on the rebound. We have job growth 33 some odd percent over the net decade according to Forbs. We have a predicted population growth, 190,000 people for 2012 according to estimated census. That's up from 188,000 for 2010. We have the Silverline being built along Division Ave. and the potential transit oriented development to go along with it, not to mention studies that have started up on the feasibility of adding a second BRT line connecting GVSU's Allendale campus to Downtown. Plus employers are eyeing GR for all of its college students it has and well be getting more if places like MSU carries out with there plans to grow their presence here. 

 

But Detroit, despite losing 60% of its population, is still a hell of allot bigger than GR while its greater metro area has over four times the number of people than GR's greater metro. 4 million to our 1 mill. Plus Detroit itself still has an infrastructure built for a city of 2 million. Also there is still development going on in Detroit's core. Still with Detroit in trouble and in decline IMHO there are open questions about GR's place in Michigan's pecking order of municipalities. What to you think? Will GR replace Detroit as Michigan's principal city or does Detroit still have the muscle to remain Michigan's number 1 city?

 

My personal thoughts on this is. I think GR will pick up a sizable portion of the vacuum being left behind in the Wake of Detroit's decline as long as GR does everything humanly possible to keep the local economy diverse and continue on the road its on when it comes to reviving the city. Also Detroit will have less of an influence in state politics making a bit easier for grand rapids and smaller cities have their voices heard by Lansing. Though I doubt I would see GR replace Detroit as the state's number 1 city within my lifetime. Plus I don't know if I'd want GR to grow to the size of Detroit nor have its political baggage. I like the city the way it is in size and populations. Its the Goldilocks city to me. Its not too big and its not too small. Nor would I want to see Detroit shrink to the current size of Grand Rapids or less as that kind of hemorrhage in both the city itself and its greater metro area would have devastating effects on the State as a whole that I seriously doubt we would ever recover from.

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IMO NO, Detroit has almost 100 more sq mi and even with current population loss it will stop at some point, wherever that is. The infrastructure is for a city of 2 MILLION not 200k. Even with miles and miles of abandonment there is still a higher density of population and showing some signs of recovery, with the infrastructure in place it will be very easy to redevelop certain areas for high density like along Woodward and downtown and believe it or not there are still some intact neighborhoods there. Economically, metro Detroit is so far ahead stemming from the BIG 3 and the arsenal of democracy and even internationally in the automotive and Canada connections, GR is geographically out of the way. GR is landlocked, there is very little room for growth with the exception of the occasional infill and higher density of redevelopment, it will be hard to get over that 200k number and unless annexation happens I just dont see how it could get up to 300k. I think the current population of Detroit is about 650k, I just dont see it going under 300k with all the immigrants and recent white growth. Think about places like OH where the biggest city by far is Columbus, yet Cleveland and Cincy still have more pull even though Columbus is the capitol and home of osu. 

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I definitely think there is, and should be, room for both to grow and flourish. Most states have more than one large city. I don't think it needs to be one or the other. 

 

Joe

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Detroit will always be el numero uno, because the state's economy as a whole will always be linked to it, for better or for worse.  Suppose, hypothetically, that GR's economy was booming at a rate that could overtake Detroit... It's a Catch-22, because that situation could only exist if Detroit was also simultaneously booming.

 

Moreover, Detroit's decline doesn't make it less of an influence in Lansing; on the contrary, the weaker Detroit gets, the more attention it demands.  And overall, the drag of Detroit's problems on GR's economy flat-out dwarfs the possible opportunities for GR to step up and take over.

 

Don't get me wrong, GR has a lot to be proud of.  But sometimes I get the impression folks in GR have too much of a "Screw-Detroit-Sucks-To-Be-Them" mentality.  Not accusing anyone here, I'm just saying in general :thumbsup:  It's not helping, and East and West really do need to play nice in order to save this state.

Edited by RegalTDP
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Detroit will always be el numero uno, because the state's economy as a whole will always be linked to it, for better or for worse.  Suppose, hypothetically, that GR's economy was booming at a rate that could overtake Detroit... It's a Catch-22, because that situation could only exist if Detroit was also simultaneously booming.

 

Moreover, Detroit's decline doesn't make it less of an influence in Lansing; on the contrary, the weaker Detroit gets, the more attention it demands.  And overall, the drag of Detroit's problems on GR's economy flat-out dwarfs the possible opportunities for GR to step up and take over.

 

Don't get me wrong, GR has a lot to be proud of.  But sometimes I get the impression folks in GR have too much of a "Screw-Detroit-Sucks-To-Be-Them" mentality.  Not accusing anyone here, I'm just saying in general :thumbsup:  It's not helping, and East and West really do need to play nice in order to save this state.

 

I really like the sense this makes which is exactly why I would not want Detroit and its metro to shrink to the size of current day Grand Rapids and metro or smaller. It will kill the state and every city and town within it. As for political influence I would definitely have to agree with what you said on that now that I heard it. Detroit WILL need tons of attention from Lansing until it can get back on its own two feet. And yeah cooperation can never be beat. But there is one outstanding question. That would be state elections. Would Detroit's decline in population reduce Detroit's influence on state wide elections at the very least?

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If Detroit shrunk to a metro of 2 Million, and even if GR rose to a metro of 1.5 Million, we'd be on par with states like Idaho. That would be devastating.

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But there is one outstanding question. That would be state elections. Would Detroit's decline in population reduce Detroit's influence on state wide elections at the very least?

 

Yeah, good question about elections.  I don't know.

 

But I think West MI will see better representation in Lansing in some ways, like in regulatory boards and such.  For instance, during the heart transplant discussion, it didn't help that the state board was dominated by Detroit and Ann Arbor doctors.  I'm sure the Medical Mile's access to the Board of Medicine will only grow as the Medical Mile itself grows.

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I really like the sense this makes which is exactly why I would not want Detroit and its metro to shrink to the size of current day Grand Rapids and metro or smaller. It will kill the state and every city and town within it. As for political influence I would definitely have to agree with what you said on that now that I heard it. Detroit WILL need tons of attention from Lansing until it can get back on its own two feet. And yeah cooperation can never be beat. But there is one outstanding question. That would be state elections. Would Detroit's decline in population reduce Detroit's influence on state wide elections at the very least?

 

Why would Detroit shrinking kill the state? Are we still using that 1950s mindset that the entire state owes its well-being to them? The nation and world sees Detroit as a failed joke, so what are we gaining from constantly subordinating ourselves to them? Because we feel "sorry" for them?

 

When Detroit was still on top they never gave two licks about the rest of "outstate" Michigan. As the term implied, we were just some back-woods nobodies while Michigan was really everything in the SE corner. I remember watching WKBD as a kid and wondered why we didnt even appear on their weather maps when we were the 2nd largest city in the state. Detroit's papers pretended like we never existed most of the time. And almost everyone has someone from there that came to W. Michigan and was stunned that we all didnt live on farms!

 

We got almost ziltch from them in terms of investment and attention. People in GR made this city what it is today with noting from Detroit and next to nothing from Lansing. And today Grand Rapids is one of the bright spots in a state, nationally and internationally, that constantly has to shake off the image of being in ruins because of the obsessive need to worry about Detroit as if our fates are link to theirs while not highlighting other parts of the state as being as prominent to our image as Detroit was.

 

Michigan needs to stop worrying and learn to love the idea of being more than that bankrupt town.

 

 

Honestly I hope the city does shrink. I hope it is spit up because it cannot effectively manage the size it has. That is just a practical solution so that what is left can have a chance. We cannot play pretend, and think you can rebuild Detroit to where it was 50 years ago with millions of people and monster amounts of industry. That is not happening, nor should it have to. Michigan exists just as much west and north of Lansing.

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There is a huge difference between Detroit CITY and METRO Detroit, much more so than GR and its suburbs. The METRO area is what matters in importance and recognition on a level outside the area (think Jacksonville vs. Miami) Most of metro D is doing fine, the CITY is where the problems and attention is from and skews the stats for the whole area and the state for that matter. With all the immigration, international business and long established business and large skilled labor in the Metro D area, its not going to shrink to 2 million or even 3 million. In fact if you subtract the Detroit city population declines from the metro area stats, its growing and has been since forever. Being on par with state like Idaho will take their rapid expansion decades. Measuring against other states we are loosing ground only because others are gaining so much faster.

 

Bottom line is Detroit will hit rock bottom at some point and it will be between now when the population is around 650k and sometime when the population is 0 which will not happen unless there is an act of God. To "replace" it in importance, it will need a bigger economy and most likely bigger population in the METRO area. Since GR is pretty much landlocked and even with annexation it doesn't have the density or infrastructure to compete with Detroit theres no chance that will happen. 

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Why would Detroit shrinking kill the state? Are we still using that 1950s mindset that the entire state owes its well-being to them? The nation and world sees Detroit as a failed joke, so what are we gaining from constantly subordinating ourselves to them? Because we feel "sorry" for them?

 

When Detroit was still on top they never gave two licks about the rest of "outstate" Michigan. As the term implied, we were just some back-woods nobodies while Michigan was really everything in the SE corner. I remember watching WKBD as a kid and wondered why we didnt even appear on their weather maps when we were the 2nd largest city in the state. Detroit's papers pretended like we never existed most of the time. And almost everyone has someone from there that came to W. Michigan and was stunned that we all didnt live on farms!

 

We got almost ziltch from them in terms of investment and attention. People in GR made this city what it is today with noting from Detroit and next to nothing from Lansing. And today Grand Rapids is one of the bright spots in a state, nationally and internationally, that constantly has to shake off the image of being in ruins because of the obsessive need to worry about Detroit as if our fates are link to theirs while not highlighting other parts of the state as being as prominent to our image as Detroit was.

 

Michigan needs to stop worrying and learn to love the idea of being more than that bankrupt town.

 

 

Honestly I hope the city does shrink. I hope it is spit up because it cannot effectively manage the size it has. That is just a practical solution so that what is left can have a chance. We cannot play pretend, and think you can rebuild Detroit to where it was 50 years ago with millions of people and monster amounts of industry. That is not happening, nor should it have to. Michigan exists just as much west and north of Lansing.

 

I think it would kill the state due to the reduction of a tax base loss of markets, loss of businesses, due to the massive loss of population. That is unless the surrounding suburbs and elsewhere in the state would be where most people leaving are making their exodus to instead of out of state. 

Edited by tamias6

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