Detroit: the place for creatives?

I’m working on a column (and a portion of a book chapter) on creative destruction. As one industry dies, others spring up in the ashes to take its place. From conversations lately, it looks like that phenomenon is at work in… Detroit?

Yes, Detroit. If you are a young, creative person, Detroit is an excellent place to check out, mostly because it is dirt cheap to live there. Houses can be had for a song. So I’m hearing reports of artists buying two — one to live in, and one for showcasing work. In New York, you have to be Damien Hirst to afford that. You can rent an apartment for $400, and a reasonable one for $600 in the university area. Get a roommate and you’re each paying $300. Take on a few freelance projects, and you can spend most of your time pursuing creative work. One of the barriers to starting a business is needing enough money to live on until the enterprise starts kicking off cash. In Detroit, that’s not a huge amount of capital.

Obviously, the city has big problems (see these photos of “feral houses.”) But I’m planning a trip there soon, and I think I will find some interesting other stories going on amid what is largely perceived as decline… If anyone knows of Detroit start-ups I should check out, please let me know.

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