I have never been to Detroit besides a quick flight transit. The few associations I have of the city were its harsh winter, its name of “Motor City,” and its striking crime rate. Thus, when I first came across the Duke Engage Detroit program, I was excited about the opportunity yet unsure about the prospect of living in Detroit for two months. I decided to do some research about the city. The article “Moving to Motor City? Here Are 11 Things To Know About Living In Detroit” was among the first ones that showed up.
As I read over our blog prompt for this week, I immediately thought about the article and pulled it out of my bookmarks. Today marks our third week living in Detroit, and I think it is a great opportunity to reflect on our Detroit experience.
Among the lists of important items about Detroit, the article highlights the prominent presence of diverse architecture in Detroit. Our cohort was able to witness them firsthand during our trip with City Institutes. Strolling through neighborhoods, we passed many gorgeous Queen Anne and Victorian houses covered in vines. Overlooking from the garage’s 9th floor, we saw the GM Renaissance Center miles away. Visting Guardian Building, we were astounded by its Art Deco-style design. These architectures are not merely scenery but also the representation of the city: many were once abandoned and broken, but, with the care of Detroiters, they were rejuvenized.
Motor City has its ups and downs, but what it has gone through only makes its community grow stronger. As the blog emphasizes “People in Detroit go big on community and initiative,” I can feel the community spirit since day one.
In the first week of work, we met with all the team members in ProsperUs and asked them the question, “Why Detroit?” Their answers all center around “the community.” Detroit has a long history of being deprived of adequate resources. Going through numerous hardships, people believe in making opportunities for themselves and the others in the community. ProsperUs is among one of them. It aims not only to provide assistance for aspired entrepreneurs but moreover to build vibrant neighborhoods. It has supported hundreds of Detroiters to achieve their dreams– the new hair salon next door, the bakery down the street, the food trucker passed by doors… With Detroiters, ProsperUs is making tangible changes in the community and building an even stronger Motor City
Above are only two items listed in the article, and I am excited to explore the rest of the list: Detroit’s art, music, cuisine, and history… I am more than grateful to have this opportunity to see those words in the article in action and experience life in Detroit.