Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Is Detroit geography or psychology? Previous Next
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Irvine_laird
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Username: Irvine_laird

Post Number: 18
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 1:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What are Detroit's true boundaries? Who is "in" and who is "out"?

Recently, a friend of mine asked if we should think of Detroit as geography or psychology. Our conversation produced three points of view:

1) Detroit is GEOGRAPHY, that is, all that falls within the city limits.

2) Detroit is GEOGRAPHY, that is, all that falls within the loose bounds of the metro Detroit region.

3) Detroit is PSYCHOLOGY, that is, an idea that exists in people's hearts and minds. This encompasses all of Detroit's communities, cultures, histories, places, etc.

All three are obviously true. But which one should most influence the way we perceive ourselves as we try to build a healthy society here in the next 100 years?
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 1274
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 2:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eight Mile Road is the damndest geo/psych border ever to exist in the United States. Period.
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Jt1
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Username: Jt1

Post Number: 8727
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 2:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Both. Many people consider themselves Detroiters due to history but the reality is that the Detroit defined by geographic lines is facing the issues facing Detroit.

I think the idea of metro region or phsychology is fine for most core cities but the fact is that Detroit has dealt and continues to deal with population flight, economic flight, racial division with the suburbs, infighting with the suburbs, legacy costs, insurance costs etc. that are defined by geography.

Sadly the only way to build a healthy Detroit is by defining it as your #1 because how our metro region and state work. If every regional bill gets killed at the polls then we as a eographic region certainly aren't embracing the region as Detroit with the exception of sports or convenience.
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Detourdetroit
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Username: Detourdetroit

Post Number: 281
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 2:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

amen ray1936. damn those surveyors!!!
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Transitrider
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Username: Transitrider

Post Number: 2
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 2:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agreed, Detour. Damn Thomas Jefferson! ;)
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Jjw
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Username: Jjw

Post Number: 279
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 3:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There are ex-Detroiters and suburban Detroiters and there is a metro Detroit. But, Detroit should be defined by its geographical borders, just like any other nation, state, or city. The psychology or sociology aspect of Detroit is to evasive to consider.
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Yelloweyes
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Username: Yelloweyes

Post Number: 110
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 4:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Small talk conversations I have had related to this topic.

Where do you live?

Detroit?

What part?

The far east side?

Oh...Detroit, Detroit.

Yeah, Detroit, Detroit.

Isn't that (place favorite Detroit stereotype here)
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Jimaz
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Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 1777
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 5:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

What are Detroit's true boundaries?

It seems that, psychologically, the perceived size of Detroit grows in direct proportion to the observer's distance from Detroit. Curious phenomenon, that.
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 1955
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 7:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

probably true of any large city
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Esp
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Username: Esp

Post Number: 47
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 7:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would say 3) Psychology, but, the question is unanswerable because you haven't defined where HERE is.
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Craig
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Username: Craig

Post Number: 119
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 9:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe that your friend overlooked at least one other option: political

Detroit in/out, yes/no speaks to political power, e.g. Detroit is a defacto one-party town, and many suburbs constitute strongholds of the alternative party; Detroit is a bastion of black political power; municipalities outside of Detroit thrive on their independence/home-rule; etc.

I expect that if one is black and Democrat then one is happy to claim "Detroit" because to do so is to identify with tangible political power. If one is white and Republican than I imagine that the pull of identifying with Bloomfield or Birmingham or Rochester is stronger.

Further, I don't believe that political orientation necessarily trumps or is incapable of co-existing with the psychological dimension. For example, I claim Detroit as home (it was) for purposes of tribal identity, but I simultaneously thank God that I am a part of different governmental unit, a unit small enough that I feel that I can exert some influence (via the ballot and persuasion) over my elected officials.

Guess who here has a little poli sci under the belt...
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Kronprinz
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Username: Kronprinz

Post Number: 212
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 9:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

who here DOESN'T have a little poli sci under his belt? or urban studies for that matter ?
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Craig
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Username: Craig

Post Number: 121
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 10:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

^good point, KP. Did anyone enjoy it?
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Quozl
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Username: Quozl

Post Number: 373
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 11:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agrees with Ray1936.
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Eastsidedame
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Username: Eastsidedame

Post Number: 64
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 2:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oh, absolutely psychology. Ask anyone who's ever moved out of town:

"Where you from?", you're asked.

Be you from Walled Lake or Warren, Redford or Romeo, the answer is always:

"Detroit."
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Gibran
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Username: Gibran

Post Number: 164
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 3:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I always claim to be from Detroit and then I pause and say Detroit proper....Like public schools...But I am sure that when you said I pull for the Pistons it was always not the Auburn Hills Pistons but the Detroit...It is the same in Dallas or other regions where there is a strong suburban base. In San Antonio where the city over took the burbs it maybe different.

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