Driving Detroit: The Quest for Respect in the Motor City
The Quest for Respect in the Motor City
Hilberry Professor of Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, Detroit
Detroit is the international icon for a once-thriving industrial powerhouse transformed within half a century into a dysfunctional metropolis. George Galster’s Driving Detroit paints a stunning portrait of Metropolitan Detroit through an eclectic application of urban planning, economics, sociology, political science, geography, history, and psychology. But Driving Detroit is also partly a self-portrait, wherein Detroiters paint their own stories through songs, poems, and oral histories. This remarkable mix of scholarly disciplines and media of communication make the book distinctively insightful, accessible, and memorable. Driving Detroit is uniquely powerful because its portrait not only helps the reader clearly see the subject but, more importantly, understand why Metropolitan Detroit’s social, cultural, political, institutional, commercial, and built landscape has been transformed. Though appropriate for graduate and undergraduate courses in urban studies, geography, planning, social sciences and history, the book should be of interest to the general public, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Driving Detroit contends that Metropolitan Detroit can be understood as two dimensions of tensions, capital vs. labor, blacks vs. whites. It documents the region’s geo-political environment, evolving economic and population patterns, and longstanding inter-class and inter-racial struggles. It shows how geography, local government structure, and social forces created a regional housing development system that perpetually produces sprawl at the fringe and abandonment at the core. Driving Detroit breaks new ground in urban studies by drawing upon psychological principles of human fulfillment to diagnose the region’s ills. It argues that the region’s automotive economic base and housing development system have chronically frustrated the populations’ quest for “respect:” basic physical, social and psychological resources. These frustrations generated the extreme adaptations that distinguish the region: distrust, scapegoating, identity politics, segregation, unionization, and jurisdictional fragmentation. Unfortunately, these individually rational adaptations have proven collectively irrational, leaving Metropolitan Detroit in an uncompetitive, unsustainable position.
- Lecture and Book Signing. On Thursday, October 25, at 6 pm in the auditorium (Room 2104) of the Art & Architecture Building, Professor Galster will lecture on his new book, Driving Detroit: The Quest for Respect in the Motor City, with a book signing to follow. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the lecture for $30 (cash or check only). See attached flyer to learn more about Galster's eclectic study of what drives Detroit
- Colloquium. On Friday, October 26, at 4 pm in the Wolverine Room of the Michigan Union, Professor Galster will lead a colloquium on the possibilities of a Detroit School of Urban Studies
- Friday, November 16: "What is Detroit? From Laboratory to Lens," colloquium with Professor Robert Beauregard, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, 4 pm, West Conference Room, Rackham Building
- Monday, January 28, 2013: The City After Abandonment, lecture and book signing with Professors Margi Dewar and June Thomas, Urban and Regional Planning Program, University of Michigan, 4 pm in Room 1110 (Betty Ford Classroom), Weill Hall. Co-sponsored with the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy
- Friday, February 8, 2013: "Why Mass Incarceration Matters," colloquium with Professor Heather Thompson, Department of History, Temple University, 4 pm, East Conference Room, Rackham Building. (tentative)
- Also in February, with date not yet determined: Design after Decline, lecture and book signing with Professor Brent Ryan, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Friday, March 22, 2013: Detroit Graduate Student Research Pecha Kucha, 4 pm, Anderson Room, Michigan Union