Independent Lens: Detropia

About This Episode


The birthplace of the middle class, Detroit was an industrial utopia where anyone who worked hard enough could experience the "American dream." Today, the Motor City is on the brink of bankruptcy. (Update: Detroit filed for Chapter 9 on July 18, 2013)

In the past 10 years, the iconic Midwestern city lost one-fourth of its population and half of its manufacturing jobs. The result? The most dramatic “downsizing” of an American city ever seen. Residents who have stuck with the city are at the breaking point while outsiders move to the city searching for inspiration and opportunity. Racial tension, globalization, greed, and lack of innovation lead to a moment of truth for Detroit.

Detropia, chronicling the lives of Detroiters trying to survive and make sense of what is happening to their city, illuminates the tale of both city and a country in a soul searching mood, desperate for a new identity.