Detroit was the birthplace of so many hopes and dreams during that era of prosperity — a period of time now revealing faults inherent to the system. It was here, at Ford, that Taylorism and division of labor was born. Here, again, in the General Motors factory across the street, that consumer credit (and by extension, excessive household debt?) was first conceived. Even the first mall was built here. The whole city was a motorist utopia, with automobiles encoded in its DNA.
Of course, the recent desertion of Detroit — in the last 40 years, the population has shrunk from 1.8 million inhabitants to fewer than 800,000 — can be explained by a number of key historical events. The race riots during the 1960s triggered the flight of the white middle class to the suburbs, and the financial crisis in the 1980s forced the black middle class to up and leave.