detroit 2

Detroit, two



urban rural deprived
weed wildlife deserve
lack chronic abandoned
dump rack up resident
seed ghetto suburbs
shrink prairie inner-city
ground thrive ground to a halt
require derelict business as usual
decay vicious mismanagement






They call this “urban prairie”: only weeds and wildlife grow in Detroit’s center. Whole neighborhoods have emptied, leaving derelict houses, abandoned offices and dangerous streets.

The remaining residents complain of a chronic lack of basic services, like police and rubbish collection.

Detroit Resident: “They think Detroit is a dump. Ain’t no respect. It’s a dump now. A big ole Detroit can’t even have its own business. That’s sad.”

The city has racked up $18 billion in debt.

One in five Detroit residents are unemployed.

And there are 78,000 abandoned buildings.

It wasn’t always like this.

Once the country’s forth largest city, Detroit made the cars that powered the American economy. This was the home of Ford and Chrysler.

The city and its people became rich.

But here began the seeds of decline. Wealthy, White families left the city center for the suburbs. The inner-city became a deprived, Black ghetto, with an ever shrinking tax base.

Then the once thriving car industry ground to a halt.

Bankruptcy is an attempt to draw a line under the mountain of public debt.

Dave Bing, Mayor of Detroit. “It’s business as usual. And a lot of people say, ‘well you gotta improve on that.’ That’s gonna take a little bit of time. He did say that, ah, you know, the checks for our city employees will continue, services will continue. I think over the medium range, we will hopefully start to see things improve, especially the services that our citizens require and deserve.”

Detroit has suffered a vicious cycle of decay, mismanagement and population decline.

The hope now is that bankruptcy will mark a new start, finally to help industry and people come back. Emily Buchanan, BBC News.


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1. Many neighborhoods in Detroit are abandoned and decayed. Is this true or false?

2. Are the services like police, rubbish collection and firefighting adequate?

3. What are some problems of Detroit?

4. Why does Detroit have these problems?

5. Detroit always had these problems. Is this correct or wrong?

6. People hope that bankruptcy will help Detroit start over again. Yes or no?
A. I have seen movies with a similar setting and backdrop to Detroit. Yes or no? Does this look like a science fiction movie?

B. Do you know any other cities similar to Detroit?

C. What had happened to these cities? Why did these cities become decrepit?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. Can these cities be turned around? What is the solution to their situation?

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