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How would you describe Detroit to an out-of-towner?

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A view of downtown from the Masonic Temple
Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Welcome to Open Threads, wherein we’ll pass the mic to readers to speak up about topics of interest, distress, horror, and more. Have something you want discussed? Let us know.

Earlier this week, we—along with many others—were upset and frustrated with the way the New York Times portrayed Detroit in a photo essay. We often see the same ‘ruin porn’ narrative—many times without context—in the national media. But we know Detroit is more than that.

Also this week, 4,000 real estate professionals were in town for the Urban Land Institute’s 2018 Spring Meeting. It was a big opportunity to show off the city to many who hadn’t seen it lately. Detroit’s two biggest developers—Dan Gilbert and Chris Ilitch—discussed the successes and challenges of the city to the group; it was almost like a pitch.

In the presentations, we saw some of the same hype videos we’ve seen before. And obviously, they don’t tell the whole story either.

When you talk about Detroit, especially if you live here, what do you say about it? How do you pitch the city to people who don’t know it? What qualities—good and bad—do you always mention? We’d like to hear your thoughts.