Transcript: Ep. 5 - Detroit and Windsor | Dec 02, 2018

Over an image of the city of Detroit appears a map of America that shows the location of the city with the caption "Detroit, USA."

Mikael takes a walk on the streets of Detroit.

Mikael is in his fifties, with short wavy gray hair and a stubble and he wears denim Bermuda shorts and a gray shirt.

He says THE STORY OF DETROIT
HAS BEEN TOLD COUNTLESS
TIMES ALL OVER THE WORLD.
THE RISE AND THE FALL ARE
PART OF THE NARRATIVE,
BUT IT IS ESPECIALLY
THE RENEWAL,
THE PHOENIX RISING, THAT HAS
CAPTURED PEOPLE'S IMAGINATIONS.
AND YEAH, I GET IT.
WHAT A STORY!
I KNOW THAT MOST OF
THE RENEWAL, MOST OF THE HYPE,
IS FOCUSED ON DOWNTOWN.
THE RENEWAL OF DETROIT
HAS NOT REACHED MOST
OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE.
HERE IN DETROIT, 90 PERCENT
OF THE POPULATION ARE NOT WHITE,
THEY RARELY GO DOWNTOWN.
I WANT TO MOVE PAST
THE HEADLINES, I WANT TO FIND
THE REALITY THAT IS DETROIT.
I WANT TO MEET THE CITIZENS OF
THIS CITY WHO ARE WORKING HARD,
STRUGGLING INSISTENTLY ON MAKING
THIS CITY MORE LIFE-SIZED,
AND PERHAPS,
GREAT ONCE AGAIN.

In animation, Mikael's body gets covered in maps and city models. He extends his hand and a miniature model of a city appears on his hand.

The title of the show reads "The Life-Sized City with Mikael Colville-Andersen."

Clips show images of Detroit. An animated map appears with the caption "Detroit and Windsor."

Mikael says IN A MATTER OF JUST
A FEW DECADES,
DETROIT PLUMMETED FROM
BEING ONE OF AMERICA'S
MOST PROSPEROUS CITIES TO ONE
OF ITS MOST DILAPIDATED.
THE DECLINE OF THE AUTOMOBILE
INDUSTRY WAS COMPOUNDED
BY VARIOUS FINANCIAL CRISES
AND MUNICIPAL MISMANAGEMENT
AND IT ALL PUSHED THE CITY
TOWARDS A TOTAL COLLAPSE,
BOTH ECONOMIC
AND DEMOGRAPHIC.
THE CITY DECLARED
BANKRUPTCY IN 2013.
FROM A PEAK OF ALMOST
TWO MILLION INHABITANTS
IN THE 1950S, DETROIT'S
POPULATION DROPPED
TO LESS THAN 700 000.
RECENTLY, HOWEVER, DETROIT
BEGAN TO MAKE HEADLINES
THAT HAD AN OPTIMISTIC FLAVOR,
AS THE CITY STRUGGLED
TO RISE AGAIN. IT'S BEEN
CALLED THE GREATEST COMEBACK
IN HISTORY, THE LAND
OF OPPORTUNITY,
THE NEXT BROOKLYN, AND
SO ON, AND SO ON.
THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT
DETROIT IS STILL STRUGGLING.
AND I MEAN, REALLY STRUGGLING.
ITS RECOVERY HAS BEEN UNEVEN
AND LOPSIDED, WHICH HAS ONLY
INCREASED INEQUITY.
THE STRUGGLED HAS AFFECTED AND
REDEFINED THE ENTIRE REGION,
INCLUDING ITS CANADIAN NEIGHBOR
CITY OF WINDSOR, ONTARIO,
JUST ACROSS THE RIVER.
BECAUSE THE DECLINE
OF THE AUTO INDUSTRY
WASN'T JUST A LOCAL THING.
FAR FROM IT.
FOR ME, IT'S A UNIQUE
OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AT
CONTEXTS CAN INFLUENCE SIMILAR
STORIES OF URBAN DECLINE.
BUT WE'LL GET BACK
TO WINDSOR A BIT LATER.
TO GRASP DETROIT'S COMPLEXITY,
WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND
HOW DEEPLY DIVIDED
THIS CITY IS.
IT HAS SO MANY FRAGMENTED
AND DISCONNECTED PIECES
THAT ARE HOME TO SO MANY
DISTINCT IDENTITIES.

A caption reads "Eric Thomas. Storyteller and [illegible]."

Eric is in his forties, with long straight brown hair in a ponytail and a beard and wears glasses, a blue suit and a white shirt.

He says WE TEND TO DESCRIBE
WHERE WE GROW UP
AT THE STREET INTERSECTION,
RIGHT?
SO I GREW UP AT JOY ROAD
AND GREENFIELD.

Mikael says YOU LITERALLY DROP
A PIN ON THE MAP...

Eric says AND THAT'S
WHERE YOU'RE FROM.
I THINK WE WERE IN THE TOP
5 MOST DANGEROUS ZIP CODES
IN THE COUNTRY.

Mikael says LET ME BE VERY CLEAR.
ERIC'S NEIGHBORHOOD
ON THE WEST SIDE WAS SO
DANGEROUS THAT EVEN
THE LOCAL MCDONALD'S
WAS A NO-GO ZONE.
THEY CALLED THE "MURDER MAC."
IN THE LOCAL PARLANCE.
LUCKILY, ERIC GOT OUT,
WENT TO COLLEGE, FOUND SUCCESS.
THE CLASSIC AMERICAN
DREAM STORY.
BUT HIS STORY IS A RARE ONE.
IT'S NOT LIKE THAT
FOR MOST DETROITERS.
THIS CITY IS PLAGUED
BY POVERTY, RACISM, INEQUITY.
YEAH, DAILY LIFE
IS TOUGH HERE, MAN.
VERY TOUGH.

A young man appears begging on the street.

A map pops up with the caption "West Village."

Eric says EVERYTHING IS SUPER DIVIDED:
COLOR-WISE, ECONOMICALLY...
EVEN IN THE TOWN.
IF YOU LOOK AROUND HERE,
THIS IS JUST A BEAUTIFUL TOWN.
WE'RE GOING TO GET TO A STREET
AND THEN MAKE A LEFT TURN AND
IT'S GOING TO BE A COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT TOWN.
IT'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT CITIES.
IT'S NOT REALLY A TALE
OF TWO DETROITS THAT YOU
HEAR ONCE IN A WHILE.
IT'S MORE LIKE THIRTY DETROITS.
THIS BUILDING IS BRAND NEW.

Mikael says YEAH. WOW!

Eric says THIS BUILDING OPENED UP MAYBE
A MONTH AGO.
BRAND NEW MODULAR STRUCTURE.
IT LOOKS LIKE IT COULD BE
ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
BUT THEN, LITERALLY
ACROSS THE STREET,
YOU HAVE STEPS FALLING DOWN
AND EMPTINESS.

Mikael says AND LOTS WHERE THERE WERE
BUILDINGS WHICH ARE NOW GONE.

Eric says IT'S NOT BECAUSE
PEOPLE DON'T CARE.
I THINK IT'S BECAUSE WHEN
YOU'RE IN SURVIVAL MODE,
YOU HAVE OTHER THINGS
TO WORRY ABOUT.
YOUR VALUES BECOME
VERY DIFFERENT
WHEN YOUR LIFE IS AT STAKE.

Mikael says RIGHT.

Eric says WHEN FOOD IS A CORE CONCERN,
THE LAWN IS NOT SO MUCH.

Mikael says YEAH, RIGHT.
IS DETROIT GOOD WITH
630,000 OR DO YOU THINK
IT NEEDS TO SCALE BACK UP?

Eric says IT DOES NEED TO SCALE BACK UP.

Mikael says IT DOES?

Eric says BECAUSE IT'S HARD FOR THE CITY
TO MAINTAIN ITSELF WITH
THE TAX BASE THAT IT HAS,
WHICH IS WHY YOU SEE
INFRASTRUCTURAL DAMAGE AND
ALL OF THIS STUFF THAT'S NOT
BEING ADEQUATELY TAKEN CARE OF.
PEOPLE ARE CHEERING FOR
STUFF THAT'S SUPPOSED
TO BE REGULAR AS HELL.
PEOPLE WERE SO EXCITED
WHEN WE GOT STREETLIGHTS.
BUT WE'RE SUPPOSED
TO HAVE STREETLIGHTS!

Mikael says THAT'S A NORMAL THING!

Eric says IT'S A NORMAL THING
TO HAVE STREETLIGHTS.
ERIC, YOU WORK IN MARKETING.
BY DEFINITION, MARKETING
IS OPTIMISM AND
BROADCASTING OPTIMISM.
HOW MUCH OF EVERYTHING
THAT I'VE BEEN HEARING
ABOUT DETROIT, YOU KNOW,
THE RISE, THE FALL,
THE RENEWAL,
HOW MUCH OF IT IS HYPE?

Eric says THERE ARE AREAS IN DETROIT THAT
ARE CLEARLY MAKING A COMEBACK.
THERE ARE AREAS IN DETROIT THAT
ARE CLEARLY FORGOTTEN ABOUT.
YOU HAVE THIS ECONOMIC
RESURGENCE, THIS COMEBACK.
AND THE QUESTION BECOMES
"WHO IS IT FOR"?

(music plays)

Mikael says AND THAT IS AN EXCELLENT
QUESTION.
THINK ABOUT IT. HUNDREDS
OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
ARE FLOWING INTO THE CITY.
REVITALIZING THE WATERFRONT,
BUILDING A NEW SPORTS STADIUM,
NEW HIGH-END CONDOS,
FANCY RESTAURANTS.
THE INVESTMENTS ARE REAL,
BUT THEY ARE FOR THE MOST PART
SPEND IN AND AROUND
THE DOWNTOWN CORE AND NOT,
UNFORTUNATELY, WHERE
THE MAJORITY ACTUALLY LIVES.

Eric says THEY WERE SO EXCITED
ABOUT HAVING THINGS
LIKE THE QLINE AND SOMEBODY'S
NEW NICHE COFFEE SHOPS
AND HIPSTER SIT-DOWN RESTAURANTS
WITH CHICKEN SKIN ON THINGS.
IF YOU LIKE THE TIGERS
AND YOU LIKE THE QLINE
AND YOU LIKE DOWNTOWN,
YOU DON'T LIKE DETROIT.
YOU DON'T LIKE DETROITERS.
YOU CLUTCH YOUR PURSE
WHEN YOU SEE A BLACK
PERSON WALK BY.
YOU DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN
TO AVOID EYE CONTACT
WHEN I LOOK AT YOU
TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOU AS A PERSON
AND YOU SLINK AWAY...

Mikael says OH DEAR! YEAH, YEAH.

Eric says OH MY GOD! I'M FIVE FEET SEVEN.
I HAVE A PONYTAIL.
I'M NOT THAT SCARY.
I'M WEARING A SUIT EVERY DAY!

Mikael says I THINK IT'S PRETTY EASY
TO IDENTIFY IN DETROIT
THE CHALLENGES.
AT THE TOP OF THE LIST,
OF COURSE, IS RACIAL AND
ECONOMIC INEQUALITY.
DO YOU THINK THAT URBAN
PLANNING COULD ALSO
HELP TO SOLVE IT NOW?

Eric says WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE POPULATION
OF DETROIT, THE REGION REALLY
HASN'T CHANGED POPULATION
SIZE MUCH. IT'S JUST THE CITY.
THE CITY DRAINED INTO
THE SURROUNDING AREAS,
BUT IT'S THE SAME
NUMBER OF PEOPLE,
SO ALL THAT WEALTH,
ALL THOSE PEOPLE,
ALL THAT STUFF IS STILL HERE.

Mikael says YEAH.

Eric says JUST NOT INSIDE THE CITY.
DETROIT IS A CITY
THAT IS BEING REVITALIZED,
BUT IT'S NOT BEING REVIVED.
IT'S A THRIVING,
MOVING, EVER-SHIFTING CITY
THAT IS IN NEED
OF SOME SUPPORT.
I THINK THAT IF WE TALK
ABOUT SUPPORTING THE CITY
INSTEAD OF SAVING THE CITY,
WE'LL HAVE A BETTER RESPONSE.
THERE'S NOTHING LIKE...

Eric says HEY!
HEY THERE!

Mikael says STRANGE PEOPLE WALKING
PAST WITH CAMERAS. SORRY.

Eric says NOTHING STRANGE HERE.
JUST A BOOM MIKE AND
SOME FOREIGNERS.

A man in a car says "I graduated today."

Mikael says HEY!

Eric says MY MAN! MAKING MOVES!

Mikael says CONGRATULATIONS!
NICE ONE, MAN!

Eric says RIGHT ON!
THE BEST THING ABOUT DETROIT
IS THE PEOPLE LIVING HERE.
THEY'RE NOT JUST INTERESTING.
THEY'RE MULTIFACETED.
YOU'LL MEET SOMEBODY WHO
IS A ROOFER AND A PAINTER.
YOU'LL MEET A TEACHER
WHO'S A RAPPER, AN ACTIVIST
WHO'S A GARDENER. YOU GET THESE
CRAZY MASHUPS OF FOLKS.

Mikael says THAT SOUNDS LIKE RESILIENCE
ON A SCALE THAT YOU DON'T SEE
IN MANY OTHER PLACES.

Eric says I THINK IT'S BECAUSE
WE'VE BEEN IN A STATE
OF TRANSITION FOR 60 YEARS.
PEOPLE ARE THRIVING WITHOUT
THINGS AND THEY'RE CREATING
THINGS HERE THAT YOU DON'T
SEE IN OTHER PLACES,
BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO. THAT'S ONE
OF THE REASONS WHY I STAY HERE,
BECAUSE I THINK THAT AS OUR
YOUNG PEOPLE GROW, THEY NEED
SOMEBODY WHO IS LOOKING OUT FOR
THEIR BEST INTERESTS, LONG-TERM.

(music plays)

Mikael says IT IS EASY TO TALK ABOUT PUBLIC
TRANSPORT IN DETROIT BECAUSE...
IT SUCKS.
IT REALLY IS ONE OF THE WORST
SYSTEMS IN THE COUNTRY.
BACK IN THE DAY, DETROIT HAD
THE CHOICE BETWEEN A SUBWAY
OR WHAT THEY ENDED UP CALLING
A PEOPLE MOVER, A WEIRD,
ELEVATED SYSTEM THAT LOOKS
LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULD SEE
IN AN AMUSEMENT PARK.
IT DOESN'T MOVE A LOT OF PEOPLE
VERY EFFICIENTLY AT ALL.
MORE RECENTLY, THERE'S A
NEW STREETCAR LINE RUNNING
INTO THE CITY CENTER,
BUT IT IS NOTHING MORE
THAN A VANITY PROJECT,
AND AN EXPENSIVE ONE.
IN BETWEEN THAT, YOU HAVE
THE DAILY LIVES OF THE CITIZENS.
MOST OF THEM LIVE
IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS
AROUND DOWNTOWN, BUT THEY DON'T
COME HERE FOR WORK.
MOST OF THE JOBS ARE
IN THE SURROUNDING CITIES,
BUT IN ORDER TO GET THERE,
THEY HAVE TO TACKLE
TWO DIFFERENT BUS SYSTEMS
THAT DON'T WORK TOGETHER.

A map shows the cities surrounding Detroit.

A caption reads "DDOT (municipal bus system)."

The caption changes to "SMART (regional bus system)."

Mikael says THE DETROIT SYSTEM TAKES
PEOPLE INTO DOWNTOWN AND
AROUND THE CITY. BUT THERE,
THEY HAVE TO CONNECT
TO THE IRONICALLY
NAMED SMART SYSTEM,
THE REGIONAL BUS SYSTEM,
WHICH IS NOTHING MORE
THAN A SHUTTLE BUS SYSTEM FROM
THE OTHER CITIES TO DETROIT.
IT DOESN'T PICK UP PEOPLE
ALONG THE WAY.
THE SCALE OF INEQUALITY
IN THIS CITY IS MASSIVE.
RACIAL, ECONOMIC.
THE LAST THING THEY NEED
IS INEQUALITY IN MOBILITY.
MAKE YOUR WAY AROUND DETROIT'S
VARIOUS NEIGHBORHOODS
AND YOU'LL CLEARLY SEE HOW
BRUISED AND BATTERED THEY ARE.
THERE ARE MORE THAN
62 KM2 OF VACANT LAND
AND SOME 24,000...
YEAH, I SAID 24,000,
ABANDONED HOUSES TO THIS DAY.
TIRED OF WAITING FOR
THE CITY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT
ALL THIS BLIGHT, A MAN NAMED
JOHN GEORGE TOOK MATTERS
INTO HIS OWN HANDS.

The caption changes to "John George. Co-founder. Blight Busters."

John is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short gray hair. He wears glasses, black jeans, a Blight Buster sweatshirt and a black cap.

He says JUSTIN, GET A CREW OUT HERE ON
THIS WITH SOME FLATHEAD SHOVELS.
OKAY, PEOPLE, LET'S DO THIS!
LET'S GO! WE'RE GONNA GET
EVERYTHING OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY.

Mikael says RIGHT NEXT TO JOHN'S HOME
SUDDENLY BECAME A CRACK DEN,
SO UNDERSTANDABLY,
WITH THE HELP OF NEIGHBORS,
HE BOARDED UP THE PLACE.
THE DEALERS AND USERS
NEVER CAME BACK.
JUST LIKE THAT, BLIGHT
BUSTERS WAS BORN AND
THEY HAVEN'T STOPPED THEIR
GOOD DEEDS EVER SINCE.
TODAY, THEY'RE HELPING A
SINGLE MOTHER BY TEARING
DOWN A DERELICT AND DANGEROUS
GARAGE AND BOARDING UP
THE VACANT HOUSE NEXT DOOR.

John says YOU GOT THAT?
PUT THE DIRT IN THE TRUCK.

Mikael says THIS USED TO BE JUST HOMES
THE ENTIRE WAY ALONG.
THIS EMPTY SPOT WAS HOMES
AND THEY'RE GONE NOW.

John says THE OTHER SIDE OF
THE STREET AS WELL.

Mikael says IS IT STRUGGLING,
THIS NEIGHBORHOOD, TO SURVIVE?
OR IS IT KIND OF STABLE NOW?

John says YOU'RE RIGHT. THIS NEIGHBORHOOD
WAS POPULATED WITH PEOPLE.
THERE ARE A LOT OF REASONS WHY
PEOPLE LEFT AND THAT'S WHY
WE'VE GOT SO MUCH WORK
TO DO, BECAUSE AT ONE POINT,
YOU HAD ALMOST TWO
MILLION PEOPLE CUTTING
THEIR GRASS AND TAKING
OUT THEIR TRASH
AND MAINTAINING THEIR PROPERTY.
JUST IMAGINE WHEN A MILLION
GET UP AND LEAVE.
THE 700,000 OF US
THAT ARE LEFT,
WE CAN EITHER IGNORE IT,
MOVE OR DO SOMETHING
ABOUT IT. WE DECIDED TO DO
SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
WHEN YOU'RE DONE WITH THIS,
I WANT YOU TO HIT THE BACKYARD.
COME ON, JUSTIN. WHERE ARE
THOSE STIFFS AT, BABY BOY?
LET'S GO! LET'S GO!

Mikael says WE'VE BEEN HERE
FOR ABOUT 4 MINUTES
AND THEY'RE GOING FOR IT.
THIS IS INSANE!
THIS IS AWESOME!
WHAT IS THE ART
OF BUSTING BLIGHT?
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THAT?

John says WELL, IT'S REALLY ALL ABOUT
SPREADING DETROIT LOVE.
A BLIGHT IS LIKE
A CANCER OR A VIRUS.
IF YOU DON'T STOP IT,
IT SPREADS.
THERE ARE THINGS THAT NEED
TO BE AROUND A HOME
AND THERE ARE THINGS THAT
SHOULDN'T BE AROUND A HOME.
WE DON'T WANT DRUG DEALERS
GOING IN HERE.
THIS IS A PREVENTATIVE MEASURE
UNTIL SUCH TIME
WE CAN DO BETTER.
IF WE SECURE THIS,
MAYBE THEY'LL GO
TO ANOTHER NEIGHBORHOOD
OR TO ANOTHER HOUSE
OR GET DISCOURAGED
AND LEAVE ALTOGETHER.

Mikael says YEAH.

John says AS A FATHER, AS A HUSBAND,
AS A HUMAN BEING,
I HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION
TO MY NEIGHBORS AND
TO THIS CITY AND TO THE CHILDREN
WHO LIVE IN THIS CITY,
TO DO WHATEVER I CAN TO MAKE
IT AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE.

Mikael help them drill a door shut.

John says THERE YOU GO.

Mikael says EXCELLENT.

John says OUR WORK IS WORK
THAT STABILIZES A COMMUNITY
AND CREATES OPPORTUNITY
FOR PEOPLE TO INVEST.
IF IT WASN'T FOR THE WORK
THAT BLIGHT BUSTERS
AND OTHERS HAVE DONE
IN THIS COMMUNITY,
THERE'D BE NOTHING LEFT.
NO COFFEE SHOP,
THERE WOULD BE NO THEATER, THERE
WOULD BE NO RESOURCE CENTER,
THERE WOULD BE NOTHING.
BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING
THIS BATTLE IN THIS
AREA FOR SO LONG.

(music plays)

Mikael says OVER THE YEARS, BLIGHT BUSTERS
HAS RAISED MORE
THAN 20 MILLION DOLLARS THROUGH
FUNDRAISING AND DONATIONS.
THEY'VE DEMOLISHED AND BOARDED
UP ABANDONED BUILDINGS,
THEY'VE RENOVATED HOUSES,
HELPED PEOPLE KEEP THEIR HOMES,
INVESTED IN LOCAL BUSINESSES
AND EVEN REVITALIZED
THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD
OF OLD REDFORD,
WHERE THEY NOW HAVE
THEIR HEADQUARTERS.
IS IT IMPORTANT TO DO THIS
NEIGHBORHOOD BY NEIGHBORHOOD,
HOUSE AND YARD BY HOUSE
AND YARD?
I MEAN, IS THAT REALLY THE SMALL
BREAKS IN THE BIG STRUCTURE?

John says WELL, OF COURSE. WHAT IS
THIS CITY BUT THE PEOPLE?
IF THE PEOPLE DON'T FEEL
COMFORTABLE IN THEIR OWN HOME
AND IN THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD,
ON THEIR OWN BLOCK,
THEY'RE GOING TO LEAVE.
WHY DO YOU THINK OVER ONE
MILLION PEOPLE LEFT?
WHAT WE WANT TO DO
IS ENCOURAGE THE FOLKS
THAT HAVE STUCK IT OUT TO STAY
AND IMPROVE WHAT THEY HAVE.
AND AT THE SAME TIME,
WE WANT TO ATTRACT
COMMERCIAL INVESTMENT
AND OTHER HOMEOWNERS
TO LIVE IN THIS COMMUNITY.
ALRIGHT! COME ON, YOU GUYS!
EVERYBODY GET ON THIS! EVERYBODY
GET A PIECE! ONE, TWO, THREE!
ONE, TWO, THREE!
ONE, TWO, THREE!

As they push chains to demolish a garage, they say HOLD ON, GUYS! LET'S DO THIS.
HOLD ON! HOLD ON!

A woman says THIS GUY IS AWESOME!

Mikael says YEAH, HE LIKES HIS WORK TOO,
DOESN'T HE?

The woman says YES. I'M GLAD TO SEE
THE GARAGE GO.

Mikael says THIS IS ONE LESS SAFETY ISSUE.
IT'S PRETTY SPARSELY
POPULATED NOW BECAUSE
SOME OF THE HOUSES ARE GONE.
DO YOU KNOW ANY OF
YOUR NEIGHBORS AROUND HERE?

She says YEAH.

Mikael says YEAH? THERE'S STILL
A COMMUNITY?

She says OH YEAH.
EVERYBODY KNOWS EVERYBODY.
EVERYBODY HELPS EVERYBODY.

Mikael says HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED
IN DETROIT?

She says BORN AND RAISED HERE.

Mikael says REALLY?

The caption changes to "Cassandra Emerson. Home owner."

Cassandra is in her thirties, with long braided blue hair and wears a green T-shirt with a print on the front.

She says BORN AND RAISED HERE, 38 YEARS.
THE AREA THAT I GREW UP IN,
THE CRIME WAS STARTING
TO GET WORSE, SO IT WAS
TIME TO MOVE.

Mikael says AND WHAT'S IT LIKE
HERE FOR CRIME
COMPARED TO WHERE YOU GREW UP?

Cassandra says COMPARED TO 30TH STREET AND
COMPARED TO WAGNER AVENUE,
THIS IS ALMOST LIKE THE SUBURBS.

Mikael says DO YOU FEEL SAFER HERE?

Cassandra says YEAH. WHEN WE FIRST MOVED
OVER HERE, WE DIDN'T GET
A LOT OF POLICE PRESENCE.
SO WE CAN'T REALLY DO TOO MUCH
OR MESS WITH ANYBODY'S KIDS
OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT,
BECAUSE WE'LL SEE IT AND
WE'RE GOING TO REPORT IT.
I NEVER HEARD OF JOHN
GEORGE UNTIL I MOVED OVER HERE.
HE'S LIKE ONE OF THE FIRST
PEOPLE THAT WELCOMED US.
SO FOR JOHN TO DO THIS,
IT MEANS A LOT TO ME.
BECAUSE I'M DISABLED,
I HAVE SEIZURES.
SO WHEN YOU'RE WORKING
ON A FIXED INCOME AND
YOU TRY TO MAINTAIN A HOUSE,
YOU DO THE BEST YOU CAN.

(music plays)

Mikael says BLIGHT BUSTERS IS SUCH
AN INSPIRING PROJECT,
THAT IT HAS MANAGED
TO BUILD A TEAM OF MORE THAN
900 VOLUNTEERS YEAR IN,
YEAR OUT.
AND THEIR YOUTH EMPLOYMENT
PROGRAM ALONG WITH REINSERTION
INITIATIVE ARE GIVING
OPPORTUNITIES WHERE
THERE ONCE WAS NO HOPE AT ALL.

John says I BELIEVE THAT IN THE NEXT
THREE TO FIVE YEARS,
WE'LL HAVE THE BLIGHTED
HOMES UNDER CONTROL,
EITHER RENOVATED,
REMOVED OR SECURED.
ONCE YOU ELIMINATE
THAT NEGATIVE ENERGY,
THE ASSETS THAT ARE LEFT
WILL PAY DIVIDENDS.
THOSE VALUES WILL GO UP, BECAUSE
PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE AROUND
RENOVATED HOUSING AND
CLEAN DECENT NEIGHBORHOODS
AND BEAUTIFUL PARKS.

Mikael says WHAT CAN THE REST OF THE WORLD
LEARN FROM DETROIT?

John says NEVER GIVE UP.
NEVER QUIT. NEVER SAY NEVER.

(music plays)

Mikael says THE MOST ICONIC VIEW OF DETROIT
IS FROM A DIFFERENT COUNTRY.
FROM HERE, IN WINDSOR, ONTARIO.
THE BORDER BETWEEN CANADA
AND THE UNITED STATES RUNS
RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE
OF THE DETROIT RIVER BEHIND ME.
THIS IS THE BUSIEST
CROSSING BETWEEN CANADA
AND THE U.S. BY FAR.
IT'S THIS CLOSE PROXIMITY
THAT MAKES IT EASY TO UNDERSTAND
HOW WINDSOR PIGGYBACKED
ON THE RISE OF DETROIT
IN THE 20TH CENTURY.
THIS IS A TALE OF TWO CITIES,
ABSOLUTELY,
BUT IT IS AN INCREDIBLY
ONE-SIDED RELATIONSHIP
AND THAT CAN NEVER BE HEALTHY.
EVERYTHING THAT IS HAPPENING
OVER THERE IN BIG DETROIT
IS ALSO HAPPENING
HERE IN WINDSOR,
WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT.
THEY DON'T HAVE THE SAME
MASSIVE RACIAL INEQUALITY
THAT THEY DO IN DETROIT.
THEY HAVE THE CANADIAN SOCIAL
SYSTEM TO HELP TAKE CARE
OF THE CITIZENS WHO ARE
STRUGGLING HERE.
BUT WINDSOR IS AT A LOSS.
IT'S AS THOUGH THEY'RE TRYING
TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THEY ARE.
BECAUSE YOU SEE,
SINCE THE EARLY 2000S,
AS THE AUTO INDUSTRY STRUGGLED,
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
HAS LOST SOMETHING
LIKE 300,000 JOBS
IN THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR.
AND NO REGION
HAS BEEN HARDER
HIT THAN WINDSOR.
LIKE DETROIT, PEOPLE HERE
SIMPLY PACKED UP AND LEFT.
HOUSES AND COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
WERE ABANDONED.
THIS ISN'T EXACTLY
DETROIT, SURE.
BUT DOWNTOWN WINDSOR
WAS HIT HARD.
25 PERCENT OF COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
ARE STILL EMPTY.
AS THIS DISTRICT IS STRUGGLING
WITH A LACK OF RESOURCES,
MANY HOUSES
SIMPLY NEED CARE.
LUCKILY, PASSIONATE
CITIZENS ARE UNITING
TO FIX THE PROBLEM.
OKAY.
THERE'S A LOT OF ACTION HERE.

He meets a woman at a construction area.

The caption changes to "Sarah Cipkar. Community Engagement Coordinator, DWCC."

Sarah is in her thirties, with shoulder length straight blond hair and wears jeans and a blue T-shirt.

She says YES, WE GOT A LOT
GOING ON TODAY.
THIS IS OUR LITTLE
THINGS MATTER PROGRAM.
IT IS OUR THIRD PROJECT
THAT WE'VE BEEN DOING.
BASICALLY, WHAT THAT IS,
IS AN OPPORTUNITY
FOR SURROUNDING SMALL
BUSINESSES AND RESIDENTS
TO GET TOGETHER AND WORK
ON LITTLE PROJECTS
AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
THIS ONE ACTUALLY IS PROBABLY
ONE OF OUR BIGGEST.

Mikael says YEAH, IT LOOKS PRETTY BIG.

Sarah says YEAH, BUT WHAT THE HOMEOWNER DID
IS APPLY THROUGH A MICROGRANT,
SO THEY PAY FOR 50 PERCENT AND
WE PAY FOR THE OTHER 50 PERCENT.
WE GET ALL THE LABOR,
ALL THE VOLUNTEERS,
MATERIALS AS MUCH AS WE CAN.
AND THEN WE HELP
THEM FIX UP THEIR HOUSE.

Mikael says AND THESE ARE ALL VOLUNTEERS
HERE TODAY?

Sarah says YES, THEY ARE.

Mikael says OH WOW!
LITTLE THINGS MATTER IS RUN BY
THE DOWNTOWN WINDSOR COMMUNITY
COLLABORATIVE, WHICH AIMS
SARAH AND HER TEAM BELIEVE
THAT GIVING HOUSES
A NEW LEASE ON LIFE AND
BEAUTIFYING THE NEIGHBORHOOD
IS A QUESTION
OF COMFORT AND SECURITY,
BUT ALSO ONE OF PRIDE.
WHY DOES IT HAVE TO COME DOWN?

The caption changes to "Emily Shurter. Coordinator, Little Things Matter."

Emily is in her thirties, with long straight blond hair in a ponytail and wears a blue T-shirt with an inscription on the front.

She says THE GENTLEMAN THAT OWNS
THIS HOUSE HAS BEEN LIVING
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
FOR A LONG TIME.
HIS HOUSE IS OLD AND
THINGS ARE COMING DOWN,
THINGS ARE FALLING APART.
HE GOT A TICKET FROM THE CITY
SAYING THAT HIS PORCH WAS
DILAPIDATED AND HE NEEDED
TO REPLACE IT AND PAY
TO REPLACE IT.
BUT NOT EVERYONE CAN AFFORD
TO DO MULTIPLE FIXES
ON THEIR HOUSE IN ONE YEAR.
SO HE GOT A TICKET FOR
THE ADDITION ON HIS HOUSE.
SO HE COULDN'T AFFORD
TO PAY IT AND
HE WOULD HAVE TO GO TO COURT.
ACTUALLY, THE CITY REFERRED HIM
TO US TO GET IT FIXED.
SO WE'RE FIXING THIS TODAY
SO THAT HE CAN STAY
IN HIS HOUSE AND NOT HAVE
TO GO TO COURT ANYMORE.

Mikael says IN A NUTSHELL, I'M HELPING
THEM DEMOLISH A RUN-DOWN,
DANGEROUS SECTION
OF THE HOUSE AND CLOSING IT OFF
SO THE HOMEOWNER IS NOT
FORCED TO MOVE OUT.

Emily says INEVITABLY, WITH A DOWNTOWN
OUR SIZE,
WE'VE GOT PEOPLE WITH SKILLS
IN CONSTRUCTION AND DEMO.
SO THAT'S BASICALLY
HOW WE'RE DOING THIS.
WE PUT OUT OUR NETWORK
TO FIND PEOPLE OUT
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
WHO CARE AND
WHO WANT TO TEAR DOWN A HOUSE.

Sarah says OVER THE YEARS,
THERE'S BEEN A LOT
OF DISINVESTMENT FROM
THE DOWNTOWN, SO A LOT OF PEOPLE
ARE MOVING OUT TO THE SUBURBS.
NOT JUST PEOPLE,
BUT SERVICES, OUR ARENA
AND A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS.
AND I THINK THEY'VE BEEN TRYING
TO REVERSE THE TREND AND START
TO REINVEST, BUT IT STILL
HASN'T GOTTEN QUITE THERE YET.
IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR
PROJECTS LIKE THIS AND ALSO
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS TO ENCOURAGE
PEOPLE TO STAY HERE TO LIVE
AND TO MAKE THE NEIGHBORHOOD
A BETTER PLACE.

Mikael says SO I MEAN YOU'RE STRUGGLING
WITH A BRANDING OF THE CITY,
BUT YOU'RE ALSO STRUGGLING WITH
REAL, TANGIBLE URBANISM ISSUES
LIKE DENSITY AND MAKING
IT A NICE PLACE.

Sarah says I THINK THOUGH IT'S ABOUT
SHIFTING THE FOCUS AND SAYING
THAT WE'RE ACTUALLY
A SUBURB OF DETROIT.
LIKE WHEN YOU LOOK AT
WHAT WINDSOR HAS TO OFFER,
LIKE THE DOWNTOWN IN PARTICULAR,
I CAN GET ON MY BIKE
AND RIDE TEN MINUTES,
THEN HOP ON THE TUNNEL
BUS AND FROM THERE GET
ON THE QLINE AND
BE AT LITTLE CAESAR'S ARENA
AND BE WATCHING A CONCERT
WITHIN ABOUT HALF
AN HOUR TO 45 MINUTES.

Mikael says BUT YOU'RE SAYING THINGS
THAT WINDSOR HAS TO OFFER,
BUT YOUR EXAMPLE
WAS GOING TO DETROIT.
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

Sarah says NO, I THINK THAT
IS AN ASSET OF WINDSOR?
IS IT THOUGH?
I THINK THAT WE NEED
TO SEE IT THAT WAY.
WINDSOR DOES HAVE A LOT
TO OFFER IN AND OF ITSELF
AND I THINK DETROIT
IS PART OF THAT.
I THINK THAT WE NEED TO
SEE DETROIT AS OUR FRIEND
AND AS OUR SISTER.
WE HAVE A LOT OF DUAL CITIZENS,
SO IT'S PART OF OUR FABRIC.
WE'RE NOT AS CANADIAN
AS THE REST OF CANADA
IN A LOT OF WAYS.

Mikael says HOW DOES DETROIT REGARD YOU?

Sarah says TO BE HONEST, WHEN I TALK
TO PEOPLE OF DETROIT,
WE'RE NOT AS MUCH
OF A FACTOR FOR THEM.
SO THEY DON'T THINK OF GOING
TO WINDSOR FOR THE WEEKEND.

Mikael says WHAT'S IT LIKE LIVING IN THE
SHADOW OF A BIG AMERICAN CITY?

Sarah says WINDSOR'S HISTORY MIRROR
A LOT OF DETROIT'S HISTORY.
BOTH WINDSOR AND
DETROIT MAKE THINGS.
THEY'RE KNOWN
FOR MANUFACTURING,
THEY'RE KNOWN
FOR AUTOMOTIVE STUFF.
I WOULDN'T SAY
WE ARE IN THE SHADOW.
I'D SAY IT'S A SHARED IDENTITY.

Emily says WE BOTH REALLY WENT THROUGH
THE RECESSION TOGETHER.
WE BOTH ARE GROWING AND
TRYING TO COME BACK
AND LEARNING FROM EACH
OTHER'S STRATEGIES.

(music plays)

Mikael says AROUND 15,000 PEOPLE LIVE
IN THE CITY CENTER
WHERE SARAH'S
ORGANIZATION OPERATES.
MOST OF THESE CITIZENS
EXIST ON A LOW INCOME.
AND 35 PERCENT OF THE CHILDREN LIVE
BELOW THE POVERTY LINE.
UNFORTUNATELY, THEY'RE OFTEN
FORGOTTEN BY THE MUNICIPALITY.
BUT SARAH SEES THE PLACE,
AND RIGHTFULLY SO,
AS THE CORE OF THE CITY,
BECAUSE POOR OR NOT,
THE CITY CENTER
IS THE HEART OF ANY CITY.
AND IF YOU WANT URBAN
RENEWAL, REAL URBAN RENEWAL,
LET ME TELL YOU: THIS IS
WHERE YOU HAVE TO START
AS LONG AS YOU DO IT RIGHT.
IS WINDSOR BROKE? ARE THEY
STRUGGLING TO FIND FUNDS?
IS THERE A LACK OF STAFF?
WHAT DO YOU THINK
THE ISSUE IS WITH THE CITY?

Sarah says I THINK AT IS CORE, IT MIGHT
BE AN ISSUE OF PRIORITIES.
BECAUSE WINDSOR IS ACTUALLY
EXPERIENCING AN ECONOMIC BOOM
RIGHT NOW.
WE HAVE LOW UNEMPLOYMENT,
OUR HOUSING MARKET HAS
BEEN REALLY IMPROVING AND
IT'S BEEN A GOOD TIME. I THINK
IT'S ABOUT THE PRIORITIES.
THIS PAST YEAR, WE HAD
AN ITEM COME TO COUNCIL
WITH LESS THAN 5 DAYS'
NOTICE TO SPEND
3 MILLION DOLLARS
ON CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.
AND THE OUTCRY FROM
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
AND FROM OTHER
NEIGHBORHOODS WAS:
"WE NEED THAT MONEY FOR ALLEY
LIGHTS, NOT CHRISTMAS LIGHTS."

Mikael says THREE MILLION DOLLARS?

Sarah says THREE MILLION DOLLARS. YEAH.

Mikael says SO WHAT DOES THE CITY FOCUS ON?
DO THEY MAYBE HAVE
THEIR PRIORITIES OFF?
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS FOR THREE
MILLION DOLLARS?

Sarah says YEAH.

Mikael says WHAT ELSE IS THE CITY DOING THAT
THEY THINK IS A GOOD IDEA?

Sarah says YOU KNOW,
OUR CITY LIKED TO FOCUS
ON THE BIG LEGACY PROJECTS.
LIKE THE VANITY STUFF THAT MAKES
US LOOK GOOD AND THAT MAKES US
LOOK GOOD TO TOURISTS, BUT
THAT AREN'T ALWAYS THINGS
THAT RESIDENTS USE OR WANT.

(music plays)

Mikael says SO SARAH'S ORGANIZATION
IS BRIDGING THAT GAP
AND THEY DO MUCH MORE
THAN FIX HOUSES.
THEY LEAD SPORTS AND FITNESS
PROGRAMS FOR ALL AGES,
THEY RUN A CAFÉ, ORGANIZE
MOVIE NIGHTS IN THE PARK,
PROVIDE COMMUNITY GARDENS
AND A FARMERS' MARKET.
THEY EVEN CONVINCE
PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE
IN NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUPS.
THAT'S MASSIVE.
THE IDEA IS TO CREATE COMMUNITY
ENGAGEMENT AND A SENSE
OF BELONGING BY GIVING
PEOPLE THINGS TO DO
AND A REASON TO CARE.

They visit another construction.

Sarah says THIS IS THE SECOND PROJECT
FOR OUR LITTLE THINGS
MATTER PROJECT.
HEY, GUYS, HOW'S IT GOING?

Mikael says I MEAN, A LOT OF THESE PROJECTS
ARE URBAN ACUPUNCTURE,
WHERE YOU'RE FIXING ALL THESE
DIFFERENT LITTLE THINGS.
HOW DOES IT WORK INTO
THE FUTURE OF WINDSOR?

Sarah says WE ALWAYS SAY WE'RE NOT
IN IT FOR A SPRINT.
WE'RE IN IT FOR A MARATHON.
SO THAT MEANS THAT THE IMPACT
OF WHAT WE'RE DOING
NOW WILL BE SEEN
IN 10 OR 20 YEARS.
BECAUSE WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO
IS BUILD A FOUNDATION OF PEOPLE
WHO CARE ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD
AND THAT'S THE LONG-TERM VISION
THAT WE HAVE, OF MAKING
A CONNECTED COMMUNITY.
BECAUSE THERE'S ALWAYS
GOING TO BE PROBLEMS,
THERE'S ALWAYS GOING
TO BE STUFF TO FIX.
YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO BE
ABLE TO SOLVE EVERYTHING,
EVEN WITH A LITTLE PROJECTS
MATTER PROGRAM.
BUT WHAT YOU REALLY WANT
IS A GROUP OF PEOPLE
WHO'LL BE THERE WHEN IT'S
GOOD AND WHEN IT'S BAD
AND THAT YOU CAN CALL
ON AS FRIENDS.

(music plays)

Mikael says AND MAN, THE CITIZENS
CLEARLY HAVE THEIR WORK
CUT OUT FOR THEM.
SOMEHOW, IT REALLY LOOKS AND
FEELS LIKE SOME MUNICIPAL
TO EMPTY OUT THE CITY CENTER.
ONE OF THESE ODD MOVES
IS A NEW MEGA-HOSPITAL,
LOCATED 15 KM AWAY
FROM THE CITY CENTER,
PAST THE AIRPORT, REPLACING
THE TWO SMALLER ONES
IN THE CENTRAL NEIGHBORHOODS.
NOW THAT THE MASSES HAVE MOVED
TO THE SUBURBS,
THE RESOURCES ARE
FOLLOWING. BUT FOR WHAT?
ALL OVER THE WORLD,
WE KNOW WE NEED
MORE PEOPLE IN THE CITIES,
NOT AROUND THEM.
IT'S SIMPLE URBAN LOGIC.
BUT THE SHOPPING MALL OUTSIDE
THE CITY CENTER HAS GONE
THROUGH NUMEROUS EXPANSIONS
AT THE EXPANSE OF SMALLER
NEIGHBORHOOD MERCHANTS.
YEAH, THE CAR STILL REIGNS
SUPREME IN WINDSOR.
ONLY 3.4 PERCENT OF COMMUTERS USE
PUBLIC TRANSPORT,
RANKING WINDSOR LAST AMONG
MIDSIZED METROPOLITAN
AREAS IN CANADA IN TERMS
OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT USAGE.
AND IT SURE DOESN'T
HELP WHEN YOU KICK
OUT SMALL BUSINESSES JUST
TO ADD 43 PARKING SPOTS
IN AN ALREADY UNDERUSED
PARKING GARAGE.

The caption changes to "Sinisa Simic. Architect."

Sinisa is in his forties, with long wavy gray hair in a bun and a beard. He wears jeans and a white shirt.

He says THE CAR IS SO PREVALENT
IN PEOPLE'S MINDS THAT PARKING,
BY EXTENSION, IS SO PREVALENT,
WHICH THEN MEANS
THAT WE'RE LOOKING
AT PARKING AS THE DEPARTURE
FOR ANYTHING TO HAPPEN.
WHICH IS SO ASS BACKWARDS,
IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE.
BECAUSE NOBODY'S GOING
TO COME DOWNTOWN
TO PARK AND DO NOTHING.
RIGHT. THIS IS SO LOGIC.

Mikael says I KNOW.
SINISA, A YOUNG ARCHITECT,
HAS DECIDED TO COME BACK
TO LIVE IN WINDSOR AFTER A FEW
YEARS IN TORONTO.
HE WORKS IN DETROIT,
BUT HE IS RELENTLESSLY TRYING
TO REVIVE HIS CITY.

They stand next to an almost empty parking lot.

Sinisa says HERE WERE STOREFRONTS.

Mikael says REALLY? HERE?

Sinisa says RIGHT HERE.
THE PRIDE OFFICES WERE HERE.
WE HAD A THRIVING
WOMEN'S HAIR SALON
THAT'D BEEN HERE
FOR YEARS.
AND THERE WAS A NUMBER
OF STOREFRONTS
THAT HAD BEEN HERE
FOR ROUGHLY TWENTY YEARS.
THEY BASICALLY SUFFOCATED
THE TENANTS OUT.
THEY HAD OFFERS
ON THE TABLE TO BUY
THE STRUCTURE FROM THE CITY,
TO RENOVATE THE STOREFRONTS...

Mikael says WHEN WAS THIS DONE?
THEY TOOK OVER
ALL THESE SHOPS AND OFFICES.

Sinisa says THIS IS WITHIN
THE LAST THREE MONTHS.

Mikael says THE LAST...
OKAY! THIS IS REALLY RECENT!

Sinisa says YES. JUST NOT WHAT YOU WANT.
FROM AN URBAN POINT OF VIEW,
IT'S ABSOLUTELY
THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO.

Mikael says SO WHO DID THAT?
WHO MADE THE CALL?
THE MAYOR?
THE CITY COUNCIL?

Sinisa says THE CITY COUNCIL AND THE MAYOR.

(music plays)

Mikael says YOUNG, CREATIVE PEOPLE
LIKE SINISA
ARE DOING THEIR OWN THING,
NAVIGATING THE CITY'S SOMEWHAT
INADEQUATE PLANNING.
THE DENIAL ART GALLERY,
FOR EXAMPLE, INVITED ARTISTS
TO PAINT MURALS IN AN ALLEYWAY,
HOPING TO GIVE A NEW LIFE
TO A DERELICT PLACE.
AND HEY! NOW, IT'S COVERED
WITH WORKS BY ARTISTS
FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
BUSINESS OWNERS HERE HAVE
EVEN MADE THEIR OWN TV AD
TO ATTRACT YOUNG
PROFESSIONALS TO THE CITY.

Sinisa says WE'RE DOING BASICALLY GUERILLA
BRANDING FOR THE CITY.
WE'RE JUST KIND OF SEEING
WHAT IS HERE AND
WHAT IT CAN BE AND
UNAPOLOGETICALLY GOING FOR IT.
WE'RE AT A DEFINITE
CROSSROADS RIGHT NOW
AND I THINK IT'S
REALLY IMPORTANT THAT
THE NEXT GENERATION,
THAT WE DON'T TEST
THEIR PATIENCE AND THAT WE GIVE
THEM THIS SORT OF PLATFORM
TO TEST THESE IDEAS
AND GO FORWARD.

(music plays)

Mikael says JUST A FEW KILOMETERS
FROM THE CITY CENTER,
THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF FORD
CITY IS EXPERIENCING
AN UNEXPECTED RENAISSANCE.
THIS ONCE INDUSTRIAL
DISTRICT WAS ESTABLISHED
BY THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY
IN THE EARLY 1900S. IT THRIVED
FOR A FEW DECADES UNTIL FORD
CLOSED ITS PLANT IN THE 1950S.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD
RAPIDLY DECLINED, BECOMING
ONE OF THE POOREST AREAS
IN THE ENTIRE CITY.
AFTER YEARS OF STRUGGLE,
IT'S NOW MAKING
AN IMPRESSIVE COMEBACK.
THERE WAS A BUILDING THERE AT
SOME POINT AND IN MANY CITIES,
THERE WOULD BE A FENCE.
SOMEBODY OWNS THAT.
PROPERTY OWNERS SHOULD
STAY OFF MY LAND,
BUT HERE IT'S WIDE
OPEN, THERE'S GRASS,
IT COULD BE A PARK. I THINK
THAT'S REALLY INTERESTING.

Sinisa says ALL OF THESE SPACES BECOME SORT
OF IMPROMPTU GATHERING SPACES.
THERE'S A STREET FEST
THAT HAPPENS HERE
AND EVERYONE OF THESES
SPACES GETS TAKEN OVER
BY A DIFFERENT USE.
WINDSOR HAD THIS NOTION
OF HAVING TO INVENT;
WINDSOR MADE IDEAS,
A WINDSOR SOLUTION
FOR A WINDSOR PROBLEM...
IT IS KIND OF BAD, BECAUSE
YOU KNOW, I WORK IN DETROIT,
I SEE HOW THINGS ARE
HAPPENING THERE.
I SEE THE PROGRESS
THAT'S BEING MADE.
I LIVED IN TORONTO AND
I SEE HOW THAT HAPPENS.
I'VE TRAVELED ALL
OVER THE WORLD.
THERE'S NO REASON WHY WE SHOULD
NOT BE BORROWING FROM OTHER
PLACES THAT WORK. MOST PEOPLE
FROM HERE, FROM WINDSOR,
ARE GOING TO GO
ACROSS THE BORDER.
THEY'RE GOING TO GO
TO A TIGERS' GAME.
THEY'RE GOING TO BE
DOWNTOWN DETROIT.
THERE'S NO RIVALRIES AND NO
REASON WHY WE SHOULD NOT
BE TRANSFERRING ALL THOSE
IDEAS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

Clips show graffiti artist intervening public walls.

Mikael says IT'S NOT A LONG COMMUTE,
I KNOW, BUT WHY...
WHAT'S YOUR REASONING FOR LIVING
HERE AND WORKING IN DETROIT?

Sinisa says WE HAVE PROBLEMS HERE, BUT THEY
ARE OF A DIFFERENT MAGNITUDE,
AND OUR MAGNITUDE IS MUCH LESS
BECAUSE OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM,
OUR ECONOMIC SYSTEM, THEY HAVE A
TOTALLY DIFFERENT UNDERCURRENT.
WE DON'T SEE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE
AT A LOWER ECONOMIC STANDING
WITHOUT ANY SAFETY NET.

(music plays)

Mikael says THE STREET FESTIVAL
HAS BEEN A HUGE SUCCESS.
BUT THE SHIFT IN FORD
CITY IS MUCH STRONGER
THAN JUST ONE EVENT
ON ONE STREET.
SINISA AND OTHER LIKE-MINDED
PEOPLE HAVE IDEAS AND PROJECTS
THAT WILL BENEFIT
THE NEIGHBORHOOD
IN THE LONG-RUN. SMALL
SHOPS AND LOCAL BUSINESSES
ARE ALREADY BLOOMING.

They enter a café called "Grand Cantina."

Mikael says WHAT HAS THE EXPERIENCE BEEN
LIKE FOR YOU, OPENING A TEQUILA
AND TACO PLACE
IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD?

The caption changes to "Thomas Scully. Co-owner, Grand Cantina."

Thomas is in his late thirties, with short brown hair and a graying beard. He wears a black T-shirt.

Thomas says THE EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN
OVERWHELMING.
YOU KNOW, WHEN SHANE AND
I AND CHEF SAT DOWN,
IT REALLY WAS AN AMALGAMATION
OF SAME IDEOLOGIES,
WHICH WAS BUILDING A COMMUNITY
AROUND BUILDING SOME PLACE
THAT THE COMMUNITY CAN
HAVE TO CELEBRATE.

Mikael says YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT COMMUNITY.
THAT'S ALMOST THE FIRST WORD
OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.

Thomas says IT IS VERY MUCH. RESTAURANTS ARE
A PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO COME AND
SHARE IDEAS AND COMMUNICATE
AND HAVE FUN.
EVEN WITH THAT, THERE
ARE COMMUNITY GARDENS
WE'RE TRYING TO HELP WITH
AND SOME AFTERSCHOOL
PROGRAMS AS WELL.
WE HOPE TO BE VERY INVOLVED.

Mikael says HOW DO YOU GENTRIFY AN AREA
THAT HAS SO MANY VACANCIES?

Thomas says WE'RE NOT PUSHING ANYBODY OUT.
WE'RE TRYING TO PULL THEM IN.

Mikael says YOU'RE SEWING
THE FABRIC BACK TOGETHER
AS OPPOSED TO PULLING IT APART.

Thomas says I'M NOT A VERY GOOD SEAMSTRESS,
BUT I CAN MAKE A DRINK.
I THINK THERE IS A MISCONCEPTION
AS TO WHAT WINDSOR IS
BY WINDSORITES THEMSELVES.
WE HAVE AN INCREDIBLY GREAT
ARTIST COMMUNITY.
WE HAVE AWESOME CHEFS.
WE HAVE REALLY COOL BANDS.
WE HAVE GREAT ARTISTS.
THEY TEND TO LEAVE AND GO
EVERYWHERE ELSE BECAUSE IT'S
NEVER BEEN DONE HERE BEFORE.
BUT IF WE CAN SHOW PEOPLE
IN OUR SMALL WAY THAT IT CAN
BE DONE HERE,
THEN WE HAVE THE GROWTH.
AND SOMETIMES IT TAKES A CITY
TO GET RIGHT AT ROCK-BOTTOM,
WHERE WE'VE PROBABLY
BEEN AT SOME POINT
WITH ONE OF THE HIGHEST
RATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT
IN THE COUNTRY,
IF NOT THE HIGHEST,
TO REALLY GIVE US
THE ABILITY TO DO THAT.

(music plays)

Mikael says NOW THIS HERE,
THIS IS MY TYPE OF COMMUNITY.
THE GUYS FROM THE CANTINA
ARE THROWING A BARBECUE
HERE ARE NOT HARD TO FIND.
TOM AND HIS CREW PROVIDE FOOD
AND DRINKS SO PEOPLE
CAN GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER
AND EVEN HAVE A CHAT
WITH THE DISTRICT'S
CITY COUNCILLOR.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR WORK AS A CITY
COUNCILLOR IS YOUR OWN IDEAS AND
MOVING FORWARD OR PLAYING
CATCH-UP WITH THE CITIZENS
WHO SEEM TO BE...
THEY HAVE THE LEAD
AT THE MOMENT?

The caption changes to "Chris Holt. City Councillor, Coty of Windsor."

Chris is in his late forties, with short blond hair and a graying beard. He wears sunglasses, a green and blue checker shirt and a gray beret.

He says WE PLAY CATCH-UP, BUT I THINK
WE'RE FINALLY GETTING
TO THE LEADERSHIP,
TO THE CORPORATE LEADERSHIP TEAM
AND THE MAYOR'S OFFICE,
ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT IT IS
TO REVIVE COMMUNITIES LIKE THIS,
LIKE FORD CITY,
LIKE SANDWICH,
LIKE DOWNTOWN,
AND WHAT THAT MEANS TO THE
HEALTH OF THE ENTIRE CITY.
SO IT'S NOT JUST
BENEFITING THE DOWNTOWN,
IT'S BENEFITING EVERYONE
ELSE IN THE CITY.
SO I THINK THAT MESSAGE
IS FINALLY GETTING THROUGH.

Mikael says SO DETROIT, WINDSOR,
A TALE OF TWO CITIES.
HOW MUCH INSPIRATION DO YOU GET
FROM WHAT'S HAPPENING
IN DETROIT?

Chris says I THINK THE BIG INSPIRATION
IS THE PEOPLE.
IT'S CITIZEN LIFE.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE CITY
THAT WENT THROUGH THE BIGGEST
BANKRUPTCY IN AMERICAN HISTORY
TYPE OF THING,
BUT IT'S THE CITIZENS,
IT'S THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE
THERE THAT BROUGHT...
THAT RESUSCITATED IT.
AND I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING
THAT WE LOOK TO AS
AN INSPIRATION AND
A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOK
TO AS INSPIRATION.
WELL, IF THEY CAN DO IT THERE,
MAYBE WE CAN DO IT IN FORD CITY,
MAYBE WE CAN DO IT
IN SOME OF THESE MAYBE
MORE NEGLECTED NEIGHBORHOODS.

(music plays)

Mikael says ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
IS HAPPENING IN THIS AGE
OF URBANISM IS THAT OUR
FOCUS IS NARROWING.
WE ARE THINKING LOCAL.
IT IS NEIGHBORHOOD
BY NEIGHBORHOOD,
CITIZEN BY CITIZEN.
PERHAPS THIS IS THE MOMENT
WHERE WINDSOR WILL FINALLY
TAKE CONTROL OF ITS OWN DESTINY,
FINALLY EMERGE
FROM THE ECONOMIC AND
PSYCHOLOGICAL SHADOW
OF THE BIG BROTHER
ACROSS THE RIVER.
IT'S A STEEP, UPHILL BATTLE,
BUT IF THE PEOPLE THAT I'VE MET
HERE ARE ANY INDICATION,
THE JOURNEY IS WELL UNDERWAY.
CITIZENS ARE LEADING
THE WAY IN BOTH CITIES.
BUT WINDSOR HAS A FEW
ADVANTAGES ON DETROIT:
ITS SCALE, ITS POLITICAL SYSTEM
AND ITS SOCIAL COHESION.
THE LONG AND COMPLEX HISTORY
OF RACE IN THE UNITED STATES
HAS LEFT DEEP SCARS
ON ITS PEOPLE AND,
OF COURSE, ON ITS CITIES.

On a chopper, Mikael says "Like in many American cities and other cities around the world, urban planning was used as a divider. To segregate wealth brackets, segregate races. One of the classic iconic examples, an infamous example, is Eight Mile Road."

Mikael says EIGHT MILE ROAD
IS A 32-KILOMETER LONG,
EIGHT LANE STREET
THAT CROSSES THE METRO AREA.
IT'S A PHYSICAL LINE, SURE,
BUT IT IS ALSO A HARD
PSYCHOLOGICAL
AND CULTURAL BARRIER.
AS THE NORTHERN BORDER
OF THE CITY OF DETROIT,
IT SEPARATES THE PREDOMINANTLY
AFRICAN-AMERICAN URBAN CORE
FROM THE MORE WHITE UPPER-CLASS
SUBURBS TO THE NORTH.
IT'S MUCH MORE THAN A ROAD,
IT'S A DIVISION BETWEEN
TWO REALITIES.

Mikael takes a walk with a man.

Neighbours say GOOD MORNING.

Mikael says GOOD MORNING, GUYS.

The caption changes to "Maurice Cox. Director of Planning and Development, City of Detroit."

Maurice is in his late forties, bald and clean-shaven. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt and printed blue tie.

He says YOU SEE FOLKS THAT LOOK LIKE ME
GETTING THEIR MORNING EXERCISE.
THESE ARE THINGS THEY COULDN'T
DO JUST TEN YEARS AGO.
SO IF YOU'RE PLANNING
IN THE CITY,
YOU WANT TO SEE IT FROM
EVERYBODY'S PERSPECTIVE,
FROM THE PEDESTRIAN'S
PERSPECTIVE,
FROM THE CYCLIST'S PERSPECTIVE,
FROM THE MOTOR
VEHICLE'S PERSPECTIVE.

Mikael says WHEN MAURICE COX TOOK OVER
DETROIT'S PLANNING AND
DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT A FEW
YEARS AGO, HE FACED WHAT SEEMED
LIKE AN INSURMOUNTABLE TASK.
FIXING A CITY THAT HAD SUFFERED
DECADES OF DECAY
AND A MAJOR BANKRUPTCY.
BUT MAURICE SAW THIS
AS AN OPPORTUNITY
TO BUILD A DIFFERENT CITY.
THE STARTING POINT:
THE DEQUINDRE CUT,
AN ABANDONED RAILWAY
LINE THAT WAS CONVERTED
INTO A PARK IN 2009,
WITH MILD SUCCESS.
BUT THEN, MAURICE AND
HIS TEAM EXTENDED THE PARK,
LINKED IT TO A WHOLE NEW
NETWORK OF BIKE PATHS
AND WALKING TRAILS.
AND IT WORKED.
PEOPLE CAME, A LOT
OF PEOPLE, AND IT BECAME AN
INTEGRAL PART OF DAILY LIFE.
IT ALSO FUNCTIONS AS TRANSPORT?

Maurice says ABSOLUTELY, AND WE THINK
IT'S CHANGING THE ECONOMICS
OF NEIGHBORHOODS ADJACENT
TO IT, WHERE PEOPLE WANT
TO LIVE NEXT TO THIS
KIND OF GREENWAY.
WE'RE STARTING TO SEE
HOUSING DEVELOPMENT HAPPEN
THAT'S LITERALLY
FACING ONTO THE CUT.

(music plays)

Mikael says THE DEQUINDRE CUT IS ONE
OF THE MANY GREENWAYS
THAT WILL SOON CONNECT
DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE CITY,
INCLUDING THE CITY CENTER.
MAURICE HOPES TO IMPLEMENT
THE SIMPLE CONCEPT
OF TWENTY-MINUTE NEIGHBORHOODS.
BASICALLY COMMUNITIES IN WHICH
YOU CAN WALK OR BIKE TO GET
ANYTHING YOU NEED
IN LESS THAN 20 MINUTES.
IN SHORT, LIFE-SIZED POCKETS
THAT DON'T REQUIRE A CAR.
MUSIC TO MY EARS.

Maurice says THE RECOVERY STARTS AT THE HEART
OF THE CITY AND THE HEART
OF A CITY IS ITS DOWNTOWN.
BUT I'M VERY FOND
OF REMINDING PEOPLE THAT
THE SOUL OF A CITY RESIDES
IN ITS NEIGHBORHOODS. HOW DO
WE TAKE SOME OF THE QUALITIES
OF DOWNTOWN, WHICH
ARE WALKABLE, TRANSIT,
LOTS OF DESTINATIONS TO GO TO.
HOW DO WE TAKE THAT INTO
THE NEIGHBORHOODS
THAT ARE PREDOMINANTLY
AFRICAN-AMERICAN
AND WILL BE SO
FOR DECADES TO COME.

He greets some cyclists and says HEY!
GOOD MORNING.
SO AFRICAN-AMERICANS WEAR
SPANDEX AS WELL.

They laugh.

Maurice says WE GET TO BUILD A NEW
KIND OF NEIGHBORHOOD
BECAUSE WE CAN GO
INTO A NEIGHBORHOOD
AND DO AN INITIATIVE
THAT ENGAGES 20 ACRES,
30 ACRES, 50 ACRES.
HOW MANY PLACES IN THE WORLD
CAN YOU GO INTO
AN URBANIZED NEIGHBORHOOD?
AND COME IN WITH
A STRATEGY AT THAT SCALE?

Mikael says HOW DO YOU FUND ALL OF THIS NOW?
DETROIT IS NOW BALANCED AND
THEY'RE MOVING
UPWARDS FINANCIALLY.

Maurice says THE INCREDIBLE THING ABOUT GOING
THROUGH A STRUCTURED BANKRUPTCY
IS YOU BURY BILLIONS
OF DOLLARS OF DEBT
AND YOU COME OUT
OF IT DEBT-FREE.
CITIES DON'T DIE.
CITIES REGENERATE.
THE CITY CAN BE A PLACE
OF EXPERIMENTATION.
THE CITY CAN BE A LABORATORY
FOR NEW IDEAS AND THE CITY
CAN BE OPEN AND
WELCOMING TO EVERYONE.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE
A WEALTHY CITY TO INNOVATE.
THIS IS GOING TO BE
A GREENER CITY.
THERE'S GOING TO BE MORE
ACREAGE OF OPEN SPACE
PER RESIDENT THAN MOST
CITIES CAN ACHIEVE.
AND THESE ARE THE KINDS
OF QUALITY OF LIFE AMENITIES
THAT I THINK THAT ARE
GOING TO GIVE CITIES
THAT HAVE LOST POPULATION
OVER DECADES
A NEW LEASE ON LIFE.
IF WE CAN SHOW THAT MAJORITY
AFRICAN-AMERICAN CITIES
ARE HEALTHY PLACES, THAT
THESE ARE PLACES WHERE
THE QUALITY OF LIFE
IS EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH,
RACE BECOMES A LITTLE LESS
OF A FACTOR BY JUST DOING THAT.

(music plays)

Mikael says THE WORK BEING DONE HERE
IN A CITY THAT DESPERATELY
NEEDS LEADERSHIP.
THE MUNICIPALITY HAS FAR TOO
OFTEN NEGLECTED ITS CITIZENS,
EVEN WITH PROVIDING BASIC VITAL
SERVICES LIKE ACCESS TO WATER.
IT'S A HUGE CHALLENGE
TO MAINTAIN A 360 KM2
WATER NETWORK.
WITH A POPULATION DECLINE,
ABOUT 700,000 TAXPAYERS
ARE ESSENTIALLY PAYING
FOR A SYSTEM THAT WAS BUILT
FOR TWO MILLION PEOPLE.
AND THE PRICE OF WATER
HAS SKYROCKETED.
TODAY, IN A CITY WITH OVER
40 PERCENT OF ITS POPULATION
LIVING IN POVERTY, MANY
CAN'T EVEN AFFORD WATER.
SO WHAT IS THE SCALE
OF THE PROBLEM HERE IN DETROIT?

He walks in a bottled water storage.

Mikael says HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE HAD
THEIR WATER CUT OFF
AND HOW MANY PEOPLE
ARE SCHEDULED
TO HAVE IT TURN OFF,
AS IT WERE?

The caption changes to "Monica Lewis-Patrick. President and CE, We the People of Detroit."

Monica is in her fifties, with short curly gray hair and wears black trousers and a black T-shirt with a print on the front.

She says WELL, SINCE 2014,
WE'VE HAD OVER
100,000 HOUSEHOLDS
SHUT OFF FROM WATER.

Mikael says GET OUT!

Monica says AND WHAT THE WATER
DEPARTMENT ESTIMATES,
IS THAT THERE'S ANYWHERE FROM
2.7 TO 3 PEOPLE PER HOUSEHOLD.
SO YOU'RE LOOKING AT ABOUT
300,000 PEOPLE OR MORE
THAT ARE SHUT OFF FROM WATER.
AND THEN, JUST THIS YEAR ALONE,
WE'RE LOOKING AT BETWEEN
17,000 AND 18,000
HOUSEHOLDS SHUT OFF.
SO YOU'RE ALSO LOOKING
AT AN ADDITIONAL 40,000
TO 50,000 PEOPLE SHUT
OFF FROM WATER.

Mikael says MONICA LEWIS-PATRICK COFOUNDED
WE THE PEOPLE OF DETROIT,
A COLLECTIVE OF ACTIVISTS,
RESEARCHERS, ACADEMICS AND,
WELL, REGULAR CITIZENS,
WORKING TOGETHER
TO ENSURE SOCIAL JUSTICE
AND HUMAN RIGHTS.
THEY RAISE FUNDS, COLLECT
AND DISTRIBUTE WATER,
ASSIST PEOPLE WITH
THEIR WATER BILL PAYMENTS
AND ADVOCATE FOR A MORE
EQUITABLE SYSTEM.
THEY ARE DOING EVERYTHING
THEY CAN TO FIGHT
THIS OUTRAGEOUS CRISIS.

The caption changes to "Darryl Jordan. Volunteer, We the People of Detroit."

Darryl is in his fifties, with long braided gray hair and a beard. He wears an orange T-shirt with a print on the front.

He says A LOT OF THE PEOPLE AROUND HERE
WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH
THE WATER ALREADY FEEL
DISCONNECTED AND ISOLATED
AND FOR SOME PEOPLE,
IT MAKES THEM SHAME,
SO IT BECOMES REALLY
IMPORTANT NOT TO JUST DROP
THE WATER OFF,
BUT TO ASK HOW THEY'RE DOING.

Monica says IN 73 HOURS, IF YOU DON'T HAVE
RUNNING WATER, YOU LOSE CUSTODY
OF YOUR CHILDREN AND YOU CAN
ALSO LOSE YOUR PROPERTY.
TO GET YOUR WATER SHUT OFF
IN THE CITY OF DETROIT,
YOU ONLY NEED TO OWE
A BILL OF 150 DOLLARS
OR MORE AND BE
30 DAYS IN ARREARS
TO GET YOUR WATER SHUT OFF.

Mikael says THAT'S IT?

Monica says BUT YOU'VE GOT CORPORATIONS
THAT OWE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
FOR INSTANCE, THE STATE
OF MICHIGAN OWES
THE CITY OF DETROIT FIVE
MILLION DOLLARS JUST ON
THE STATE FAIRGROUND
PROPERTIES ALONE,
TWO MILLION DOLLARS ON DEXTER
ELMHURST RECREATIONAL FACILITY.
SO JUST ON TWO FACILITIES,
THEY OWE DETROIT
SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS AND
THEY WERE ABLE TO HAVE
THEIR DEBT RENEGOTIATED
AND MUCH OF IT FORGIVEN
DURING THE BANKRUPTCY.

A caption reads "State of Michigan: 7 million dollars; Golf course: 440,000 dollars."

Monica says AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON.
THE CITY GOLF COURSE HAS OVER
440,000 DOLLARS
IN UNPAID WATER BILLS.

Darryl says SO YOU BEGIN TO SEE THAT THIS
STUFF MAKES NO SENSE
AND IT'S NOT ABOUT A REAL
EMERGENCY AROUND WATER.
IT'S AN EMERGENCY AROUND
GREEDY FOLKS GETTING PAID.
AND PEOPLE WHO REALLY NEED
WATER AND REALLY NEED
TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES
ARE NOT ABLE TO GET
THE RESOURCES THAT THEY NEED.
FOLKS ARE TRYING TO COVER
THEIR UTILITIES, COVER
THEIR RENT, COVER THEIR HEALTH
EXPENSES AND ALL THAT KIND
OF STUFF, AND THEY CUT OFF
THEIR WATER AND ACT
LIKE THAT'S OKAY.

Mikael says WE THE PEOPLE OF DETROIT RUNS
FOUR DISTRIBUTION CENTERS
WHERE PEOPLE
CAN GET FREE WATER.
THEY ALSO DELIVER TO THOSE
WHO DON'T HAVE ACCESS
TO TRANSPORT.
OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR,
THEY CAN DISTRIBUTE UP
TO 200 TONS OF WATER
TO CITIZENS IN NEED.

They drop water to a home.

Darryl says HOW ARE YOU DOING?
JUST BRINGING AND DROPPING
OFF THE WATER TODAY.
ARE YOU DOING ALRIGHT?

The house owner says HI, HOW ARE YOU?
THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

Mikael says NO PROBLEM. I'M JUST HELPING
THESE GUYS. THEY'RE DOING ALL
THE WORK. WHEN DID YOU YOUR
WATER TURNED OFF?

The caption changes to "Antoinette Carter. Detroit resident."

Antoinette is in her late forties, with short brown hair and wears a white and gray striped sweater, a black and white striped robe and a black hat.

She says IT'S BEEN ALMOST A YEAR.
ABOUT A YEAR? WOW!
IT WAS A CRAZY SET
OF CIRCUMSTANCES.
IT JUST WENT HAYWIRE FAST.

Mikael says YEAH, YEAH. BUT IT'S HAYWIRE
FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE IN DETROIT.

Antoinette says YEAH, YEAH.
THAT'S WHAT I'M HEARING.

Mikael says SO IT'S NOT A BAD THING GETTING
SOME WATER FROM THESE GUYS.

Antoinette says NO. THIS IS A BLESSING.

She talks to her dog and says EXCUSE ME, CINNAMON.
YOU GET BACK.

Darryl says CINNAMON NEEDS WATER TOO.

Antoinette says SHE'S WAITING ON THE WATER TOO.

Darryl says CINNAMON NEEDS WATER TOO.

Mikael says WHAT OTHER OPTIONS WOULD YOU
HAVE IF YOU COULDN'T GET WATER
FROM WE THE PEOPLE?

Antoinette says WELL, I WOULD HAVE TO WAIT
TO GET PAID, THEN BUY WATER.
BUT A COUPLE OF TIMES, I HAD
TO GO TRY AND GET WATER
FROM OTHER PEOPLE'S
WATER HOLES,
FROM THEIR HOUSE, AND
I DON'T HAVE A CAR ANYMORE,
SO IT JUST MADE IT
IMPOSSIBLE TO DO IT.

Mikael says RIGHT.

Antoinette says AND ALSO I CAN'T WALK
FIVE MILES WITH FIVE GALLONS
OF WATER.
IT JUST WASN'T FEASIBLE.

Mikael says ANTOINETTE'S STORY IS SADLY ALL
TOO COMMON IN THIS CITY,
BUT MONICA AND HER
ORGANIZATION ARE WORKING
HARD TOWARDS
A LONG-TERM SOLUTION.
THEY'RE PUSHING FOR A WATER
AFFORDABILITY PLAN AND
URGING THE CITY TO ADOPT
AND IMPLEMENT IT.

Monica says WHAT WE'VE GOT TO DO DECIDE IS,
AS COMMUNITIES AND AS HUMANITY,
ARE WE WILLING TO ENSURE THAT
EVERY HUMAN LIFE HAS ACCESS
TO THIS LIFE-SUSTAINING
RESOURCE CALLED WATER.
A WATER AFFORDABILITY
PLAN BEING PUT IN PLACE
WOULD MEAN THAT EVERYBODY
WOULD PAY INTO THE SYSTEM,
BUT IT'S JUST THAT LOW-INCOME
PEOPLE WOULD BE ABLE TO PAY
INTO THE SYSTEM
WHAT THEY CAN AFFORD.
AND WHAT
THE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE,
IS THAT POOR PEOPLE SHOULD
NOT BE PAYING MORE
THAN 3.5 TO 4.7 PERCENT OF THEIR INCOME
TO ACCESS WATER.
ON AVERAGE IN DETROIT,
YOU HAVE LOW-INCOME
FAMILIES PAYING ANYWHERE FROM
10 PERCENT OF THEIR INCOME
UPWARD TO ACCESS WATER.

A caption reads "Water affordability. Average now: 10 percent or more. Shouldn't be more than 3.5 to 4.7 percent."

Monica says AND THAT'S WHY YOU SEE
SO MANY HOUSES WITHOUT WATER.
IT'S BECAUSE THE WATER
IS UNAFFORDABLE.
WATER COSTS HAVE GONE UP 126 PERCENT
OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS.
SO WHAT WE'RE SAYING NEEDS
TO HAPPEN IS THAT PEOPLE
CAN ACTUALLY PAY A LIMITED
AMOUNT ON THE BILL
AND BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN
WATER ACCESS AND THEREFORE
THERE'S WATER AND
SANITATION FOR EVERYBODY.
NOBODY'S WATER IS OFF AND
THE ACTUAL SYSTEM RECOVERS
MORE MONEY BY MAKING
IT AFFORDABLE.

Darryl says THIS NARRATIVE OF A BRAND NEW
DETROIT AND IT BEING THE MODEL
FOR TURNING AROUND A CITY...
YOU CAN'T TURN AROUND A CITY
IF YOU'RE GOING TO THROW HALF
OF YOUR PEOPLE TO THE DOGS.
YOU JUST CAN'T DO THAT.
SO YES, WE'VE GOT TO BE OUT
HERE WORKING ON WATER,
WE'VE GOT TO BE OUT
HERE WORKING ON AIR.
WE ARE HERE WORKING
ON MULTIPLE ISSUES.

(music plays)

Mikael says AS MONICA WENT AROUND THE CITY,
SHE NOTICED DOZENS OF HOUSES
CONNECTED TO THE ONE HOUSE
THAT HAD WATER.

Monica says WHEN YOU SEE THE WATER HOSES
RUNNING FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE,
I WOULD JUST CRY FROM HOUSE
TO HOUSE SEEING THAT KIND
OF DEVASTATION.
BUT THE YOUNG PEOPLE
WERE ABLE TO REFRAME IT
AND TOLD ME
TO SEE IT DIFFERENTLY.
LOOK AT THAT AS OUR OWN
PIPELINE OF LOVE IN DETROIT,
WHERE WE ARE WILLING, EVEN WITH
THOSE WHO HAVE VERY LITTLE,
TO SHARE THE LITTLE THAT
WE HAVE TO CREATE A LIFELINE
FOR SOMEBODY ELSE.
REGARDLESS OF THE BROKENNESS
AND THE GLASS AND THE DEBRIS,
THERE'S THIS DEEP
CONNECTEDNESS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
OF LOVE THAT SHOW WE NOT ONLY
LOVE EACH OTHER, BUT WE DEARLY
LOVE EACH OTHER IN DETROIT.

(music plays)

Mikael says THE STRONG... NO. LET ME SAY
THE POWERFUL COMMUNITY
ENGAGEMENT IN DETROIT IS DOING
NOTHING SHORT OF HOLDING
THIS BROKEN CITY TOGETHER.
TODAY, 30,000 PEOPLE HAVE NO
ACCESS TO A GROCERY STORE.
48 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION
EVEN FACES
FOOD INSECURITY
ON A DAILY BASIS.
THAT MEANS THAT THEY DON'T HAVE
ACCESS TO A SUFFICIENT QUANTITY
OF AFFORDABLE AND NUTRITIOUS
FOOD WHERE THEY LIVE.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU
DON'T HAVE A RELIABLE SOURCE
OF FOOD TO FEED YOURSELF
AND YOUR FAMILY?
YOU GUESSED IT.
YOU GROW YOUR OWN.

The caption changes to "Shakkara Tyler. Board Member, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network."

Shakkara is in her thirties, with long brown hair in dreadlocks and wears a green T-shirt.

She says THIS IS THE LARGEST URBAN
FARM IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN.

Mikael says I CAN SEE CROPS GOING
INTO THE DISTANCE,
BUT HOW BIG IS THIS FARM?

Shakkara says ABOUT SEVEN ACRES.

Mikael says SEVEN ACRES.

Shakkara says YEAH. WE DON'T OWN
THE LAND HERE.

Mikael says OKAY.

The caption changes to "D-Town Farm."

Shakkara says WE HAVE A LICENSE AGREEMENT
WITH THE CITY OF DETROIT.
WE SEE THIS LAND AS A COMMONS.
IT'S NOW OWNED BY US
AS AN ORGANIZATION
OR AS INDIVIDUALS.
IT'S OWNED BY
THE COMMUNITY BECAUSE
WE'RE ROOTED IN THE COMMUNITY.
THIS IS NOT JUST OUR PROJECT.
WE'RE DOING IT FOR THE GREATER
GOOD, FOR THE ENTIRE COLLECTIVE.
IT'S FOR ALL OF DETROIT,
PARTICULARLY BLACK DETROIT.

Mikael says SHAKARA IS A MEMBER
OF THE DETROIT
BLACK COMMUNITY FOOD
SECURITY NETWORK,
AN ORGANIZATION THAT PROVIDES
ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE
AND HEALTHY FOOD.
ONE OF THEIR FLAGSHIP PROJECTS
IS D-TOWN FARM.
IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE WE'RE OUT
URBAN FARM IS LOCATED
IN THE HEART OF THE CITY.

Shakkara says WE GROW TWO TYPES OF KALE,
TWO TYPES OF COLLARD GREENS.
OVER HERE, WE HAVE SALAD
MIX AND THIS IS SPINACH.
CARROT TOP.

Mikael says OH YEAH.
THIS PROJECT IS AMAZING,
BUT I IMAGINE IT
COULD BE SCALED UP.
YOU COULD HAVE SMALL
URBAN FARMS ALL OVER
DETROIT WHERE THERE USED
TO BE HOMES.

Shakkara says ACTUALLY, THE DETROIT BLACK
COMMUNITY FOOD SECURITY NETWORK
STARTED HELPING OUT PEOPLE,
HELPING OUT FAMILIES START
THEIR OWN GARDENS
IN THEIR BACKYARDS.

Mikael says AWESOME!

Shakkara says SO WE'RE LOOKING TO REVIVE
THAT PROGRAM BECAUSE
IT'S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE
TO HAVE ACCESS TO FOOD.
NOT JUST COMING HERE,
BUT IN THEIR OWN BACKYARD
AND ON THEIR LAWNS.
WE WANT TO DECENTRALIZE
THE FOOD GROWING PROCESS.
WITH THE EXIT OF THE WHITE
POPULATION OUT OF THE CITY CAME
THE FLIGHT OF GROCERY STORES,
CAME THE FLIGHT OF QUALITY
PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.
ALL THE PUBLIC RESOURCES LEFT
WITH THE WHITE POPULATION.
THIS BLACK-FOUNDED URBANITE
INSTITUTION IS AN EXAMPLE
OF CLAPPING BACK
TO THE SYSTEM AND SAYING:
"OKAY, WELL IF YOU'RE NOT
GOING TO PROVIDE FOR US
AS YOU SHOULD, THEN
WE'RE GOING TO PROVIDE
FOR OURSELVES." WE LIKE
TO CALL IT FOOD SOVEREIGNTY.
IT EMPHASIZES THE HUMAN
RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO GROW
THEIR OWN FOOD, TO HAVE
CONTROL OVER OUR LAND,
OUR WATER.
IT ALSO FOCUSES
ON OUR AUTONOMY AS COMMUNITIES
TO LIVE FREELY
AND BUILD OUR CULTURAL
REALITY ON FOOD.
THE GENTRIFICATION THAT
IS HAPPENING IN THE CITY HAS
SORT OF WELCOMED BACK
THESE GROCERY STORES,
BUT THEY'RE HIGH-END GROCERY
STORES THAT CATER
TO A PARTICULAR CLIENTELE
THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE
THE MAJORITY OF DETROIT.
RIGHT.
AND SINCE DETROIT IS ABOUT
83 PERCENT AFRICAN-AMERICAN,
WHAT ARE THOSE PEOPLE EATING?
WHERE IS THEIR FOOD COMING FROM?

(music plays)

Mikael says D-TOWN FARM SELLS AFFORDABLE
ORGANIC PRODUCE ON LOCATION
AND IN NEARBY MARKETS.
CITIZENS CAN VOLUNTEER
THEIR TIME HERE IN EXCHANGE
FOR FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES.
THEY'RE ALSO PIECING
TOGETHER A NEW PROJECT:
DETROIT'S PEOPLE FOOD
COOP, A GROCERY STORE
OWNED BY ITS MEMBERS.

The caption changes to "Malik Yakini. Co-founder, D-Town Farm."

Malik is in his fifties, with long brown hair in dreadlocks and a gray beard. He wears sunglasses and a purple sweatshirt with a print on the front.

He says IT'S A SELF-DETERMINATION
PROJECT. PART OF WHAT THIS IS,
IS MODELING HOW BLACK PEOPLE
CAN WORK TOGETHER,
LED BY BLACK PEOPLE,
CONCEPTUALIZED BY BLACK PEOPLE,
MOST OF THE WORK DONE
BY BLACK PEOPLE.
AND WE NEED THESE MODELS
ON HOW TO WORK TOGETHER
BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY
THAT CONSCIOUSLY WORKS AGAINST
THAT KIND OF COOPERATION.
IT'S OUR HOPE THAT THE SPIRIT
OF SELF-DETERMINATION WILL
CARRY OVER INTO OTHER THINGS.
THAT PEOPLE SAY IF WE CAN
GROW OUR OWN FOOD,
SOMETHING THAT SUSTAINS
OUR OWN LIFE,
THEN MAYBE WE CAN CREATE
SCHOOLS OR MAYBE
WE CAN MAKE CLOTHES.
WE'RE CLEARLY RESHAPING
HOW PEOPLE THINK ABOUT CITIES,
BUT NOT IN OPPOSITION
AS TO WHAT HAPPENS
IN THE COUNTRYSIDE.
MORE IN A COMPLEMENTARY
FASHION.

(music plays)

Mikael says WHAT A TOWN!
DETROIT IS ABSOLUTELY
IN THAT LEAGUE OF CITIES FACING
THE MOST EXTREME URBAN
CHALLENGES IN THE WORLD.
FAILED URBAN PLANNING WAS ONE
OF THE ROOT CAUSES
OF DETROIT'S DECLINE, BUT
URBAN PLANNING REMAINS
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS
TO GET THIS CITY BACK ON TRACK.
IT'S BRUISED AND BATTERED.
THERE ARE BROKEN BONES, BUT
THIS CITY IS VERY MUCH ALIVE.
I HEAR THE SAME THING
WHEN I TRAVEL THE WORLD
WITH THE LIFE-SIZED CITY.
OUR PEOPLE ARE OUR MOST VALUABLE
RESOURCE AND
THAT IS AN ABSOLUTE TRUTH
IN EVERY CITY IN THE WORLD.
BUT THE PEOPLE OF DETROIT,
THEY ARE FIGHTERS
LIKE NOBODY ELSE.
THEY HAVE AN INCREDIBLE ENERGY,
AN INTENSITY AND A DOGGED
DETERMINATION
AND IT'S CONTAGIOUS.
I DON'T KNOW IF DETROIT WILL
RISE AGAIN TO THE SAME LEVELS
OF GREATNESS AS IN BYGONE DAYS.
AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW
IF IT NEEDS TO.
PERHAPS WE SHOULD JUST HOPE THAT
THIS CITY SIMPLY BECOMES GOOD,
SOLID AND FAIR TO ALL
THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Hosted by Mikael Colville-Andersen.

Directed by Myriam Berthelet and Michel D.T. Lam.

Series director, Michel. D. T. Lam.

Producer, Nicolas Boucher.

Produced in association with TVO.

Logo: DBC2.

Copyright 2018.

Watch: Ep. 5 - Detroit and Windsor