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Stateside: Author Mark Binelli's industrious Detroit


In his new book “Detroit City is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis,” Mark Binelli addresses the multifaceted city with humor and patience.

The book was born during an assignment for Rolling Stone in 2009.

Binelli, a Detroit native, worked to portray the city with a nuance ignored by many outside voices.

“There is a do-it-yourself possibility in Detroit. There is lots of stuff happening on a micro level that is very exciting,” said Binelli.

It is this attitude that Binelli captures in his book. Having conducted interviews with a wide cast of residents, “Detroit City” includes voices from both long-term residents and the ubiquitous youngsters moving to the city.

Of the politicians with whom Binelli spent time, Kwame Kilpatrick was among the most potent.

“I spent time with him in 2002. At the time, he was loved by everyone. You could see the seeds of the troubles that would become his undoing,” said Binelli.

Binelli addressed the serious amount of open space that exists in the city.

“Somewhere between 30 and 40 square miles, which is like Paris,” said Binelli.

Instead of focusing entirely on the auto industry, Binelli suggested placing more attention on smaller businesses with specific purposes.

Having endured the unflattering spotlight of the media for so long, Binelli feels Detroit can work towards a better future.  

“There’s an oddly positive aspect to being branded the worst city in the country. People will pay more attention to you,” said Binelli.

-Cameron Stewart

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