Very Detroit Radio airs Fridays from 11am to 12 noon on WHPR 88.1FM. We discuss community, culture, art and music weekly. Along with a few other topics! Our show airs immediately after the "Ask Your Neighbor" show, which is the longest airing program in America!
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2019 and Beyond
January 16th, 2019
Yesterday's Press Preview event, at this years Auto Show helps us to understand our past, present and many potential futures for society and the automobile. As we walked and listened to the new, there was an echo that could be heard if you listened low enough, "where we have been will be vastly different then where we are going."
The future, to some, looks like a perfectly operating just in time automated city factory where no one lives. We see beautiful animations, of cartoon people and slick 3D animations. Vehicles move about perfectly, on time, and well, it feels like the people have been taken out of the element. However the people are the main element, yet it seems like we will struggle with what the future ride sharer, autonomousater or scooter riding hipster will really want. This is all about moving about in the most efficient way possible.
Electric grids, and 5G that will supposedly connect up the whole city, any city and on demand ride requests are processed easily and everyone looks happy and there seem to be no costs to the consumer. However, lets think about all of this for a moment, I mean really think what this will actually mean to our population. Will Detroiter's want this type of city, an automated city, where digital everything runs every piece of the city.
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The inter-urban enclave of Hamtramck was one of the first stops for any immigrants coming from the Balkans into the U.S. Growing up in Hamtramck in the 1970's and 80's, many family members either lived above us, down the street or around the corner- never further than walking distance. Most evenings consisted of chess games on the porch, games on the sidewalk or cars being repaired in the alley near Whalen and Jos. Campau. This special area of Detroit helped new immigrants acclimate to a new country, a new way of life- but with the comfort of similar customs, familiar music and echoes of like languages.
Eastern Market, Highland Park, Belle Isle and downtown: Detroit was a city of opportunity in the 70’s. I heard stories of people walking down the street and being offered jobs on the spot. Can you imagine a place where fresh food, gleaming faces, and little corner pubs dot an immigrant enclave- one which provided a place to start restaurants, distribute labor to the factories nearby and create wealth like nowhere before.
My Dad worked for a meat processing plant, which made him despise meat for awhile until he landed a great job with Chrysler. Mom worked at Kowalski sausage and brought home fresh kielbasa and we canned all kinds of stuff. In 5 years we had bought a two unit home, and had a brand new car. There was American opportunity in Detroit. Wages and benefits drove this town, which attracted a diverse group of people from all over the nation and all over the world.
My Detroit is full of these fond memories of cramped streets, families walking around town to shop for fresh goods, and talk with friends along the way. Eastern Market was close by and offered all the food and goods necessary for the growing town. Today I see an even better Detroit in the works, where we are welcoming our complicated past and trying to learn from our mistakes, while respecting our diverse communities that bring Detroit it’s unexplained allure and power.
Today’s Detroit, and the strides this city has made, makes me jump for joy. For years, we were the joke for many Americans. We stood tall no matter what and we always said we were from Detroit. Back in the 80's, 90's and 2000’s we had some trouble. But, many believed that we could make a comeback, and looked to that day. Mr. I, Young, Karmonos, Archer, and now Gilbert and Duggan. And, let's not forget many more of us Detroiters that were there for our city's homeless population, like the efforts of organizations such as Detroit Healthcare for the Homeless. That kept this city’s most desperate people going, through the toughest of times.
The Detroit I see is a connected, diverse, caring, clean, set of communities with an opportunity around every corner. Where we recognize, support and harness the talents of our youth from this hard working heritage. The transformation that has happened in Detroit will continue to be one of the most fascinating examples of urban renewal that the world has ever seen! I am honored to be here now and to be able to experience the new possibilities our Detroit holds. Our people, our places, our memories: ours to transform. That’s Very Detroit.
Danco Sotirovski - Director, VeryDetroit.com