I was too lazy too search for a good graphic, but I also couldn't find a graphic that seemed to immediately describe the PLACE. It goes to show that PLACE cannot be summed up by a graphic. What is Boston's symbolic marker, anyway? Should I have a picture of the Back Bay? Downtown Crossing? Boston Common? The Harbor? City Hall? It seems that with Boston I have lots of choices. With Oakland County, Michigan, I have nothing visually significant--at least according to Google--which filled the screen up with maps of the county. Maybe that type of abstraction is accurate, but it's disappointing to an architect who identifies PLACE with spaces, objects, textures. An economic blueprint is more relevant to people, in the same way that food digesting in your stomach is more relevant than food on a plate. The calories are real in the first instance and only a promise in the second instance.
Anyway, the New Yorker has a decent article on Oakland County. What Detroit has lost, that place has gained over the past several decades. Will the pendulum swing back one day? Or should we abandon that metaphor, and seize on the optimistic notion that both places can get better over time?