Between Ruin And Rebirth

Richey Piiparinen and Anne Trubek want to broaden the narrative about struggling American cities such as Detroit and Cleveland:

Many dispatches from the industrial north are written by writers who fly to report what they saw during a day or a weekend, and almost invariably, the memes get in the way, or more likely, were in the writer's head before she arrived. Looking around cities like Cleveland, it's easy to draw hasty conclusions, to either sentimentalize the old, gritty working class blocks now abandoned, or be all gobsmacked to find signs of modernity and life. The resulting picture looks too black and white: "this is where the good stuff is—the rebirth!—and this is where the bad stuff is–the ruin!" Truth is, the Rust Belt is a very gray place: it is both in ruins and reviving.

Roger Ebert recently reviewed "Detropia" (trailer above):

"Detropia" offers no solution to this crisis, and indeed there may be none. This documentary is more eulogy and elegy. Early in the film, a Detroit video blogger named Crystal Starr climbs to an upper floor of an abandoned building and films out a window. "What a view they had!" she says. The view is now of empty lots.