Detroit’s mayor Dave Bing is willing to go far and wide for the best ideas to revive his struggling Midwest city.
The Motor City mayor and his delegation of economic development and educational leaders are in Turin, Italy this week. They are touring the city that is referred to as the “Detroit of Italy.” The city in northern Italy, home to three European automakers, suffered an economic downturn in the 1990’s. They have since bounced back as a cultural, business, and tourist center for Italy and the Alps region. The two locations have been officially coined “sister cities.”
The trip is part of the Detroit Works Project, an effort to revitalize the former automotive manufacturing metropolis by downsizing neighborhoods and attracting more businesses. It is an extension of Bing’s pledge to make Detroit efficient and competitive again in the 21st century. By touring a city that once faced similar economic challenges to Detroit, it will provide even more ideas to turn around the struggling city. Officials in Detroit have long known that a healthy manufacturing industry in the city is one of the keys to its needed turnaround.
Regarding the trip to Italy, Bing offered a simple explanation fitting for today’s global economic environment.
“Detroit is still one of the world’s most important cities and this is an opportunity for us to exchange ideas and build relationships with leaders that understand our challenges and believe we can come back,” Bing stated.
“We must think differently and be willing to accept that we don’t have all the answers. It is time to engage those who want to help our city forward,” he said. Bing has openly considered a slate of fresh, new ideas and thinking to help push the Detroit Works Project.
As for funding, the Kresge Foundation and the German Marshall Fund co-sponsored the trip.
Officials will not say exactly when Bing is slated to return to Detroit citing security concerns.