National Geographic

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Belle Isle beach, Detroit. Photo by Danny Wilcox Frazier @dannywilcoxfrazier on assignment for National Geographic @natgeo. Bill Mitchell wrote the piece, "In Detroit, Water Crisis Symbolizes Decline, and Hope," for National Geographic. To continue our conversation, I asked Bill to respond to this photograph. He wrote: "Anyone who follows the news knows that, in many respects, life in Detroit is hard. Less visible are the charms that ease some of the pain -- and may help chart the recovery -- of an extraordinarily well-situated city struggling with a half century of decline. The headlines offer no clue of Detroiters who end their day by nudging a paddleboard into the Detroit River from the beach on Belle Isle, the largest city-owned island park in the U.S. and now managed as part of the state of Michigan park system. Saturday mornings, there's no better place to shop than Eastern Market, an explosion of produce, flowers and human diversity that stands in utter contrast to the "food deserts" plaguing so many neighborhoods. Along the river that guided the city's founders 313 years ago, a run-down string of overgrown parking lots and abandoned industrial sites has been replaced with parks, bike paths and the sort of concerts and other events painting a new view of old Detroit. In less troubled cities, amenities like these are often taken for granted. In Detroit, they're recognized as myth-busting details of everyday life and hopeful signs of better days ahead.” -Bill Mitchell
National Geographic @natgeo