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The news of Detroit's plunging population decline surprised even the city's worst forecasts. Micki Maynard, senior editor at Changing Gears, a public media project about the future of the industrial Midwest, explains why. — Ed.

The news of Detroit's plunging population decline surprised even the city's worst forecasts. Micki Maynard, senior editor at Changing Gears, a public media project about the future of the industrial Midwest, explains why. — Ed.

[Photos via Virtual Motor City] The holiday season has arrived, and the largely vacant storefronts of Merchants Row are festooned with layers and layers of Christmas lights.

The J.L. Hudson building in downtown Detroit in 1982. Such fond memories I have of going downtown with my mom, aunt and cousins when I was a little girl. We would always go into Hudson's and have lunch :) Great memories and I love how my son likes to go downtown too...

The J.L. Hudson building in downtown Detroit in 1982. Such fond memories I have of going downtown with my mom, aunt and cousins when I was a little girl. We would always go into Hudson's and have lunch :) Great memories and I love how my son likes to go downtown too...

Detroit: Woodward Avenue: 1917    Detroit was once called the Paris of the West because of it's beautiful architecture.

Detroit: Woodward Avenue: 1917 Detroit was once called the Paris of the West because of it's beautiful architecture.

These Pictures Of Vintage Detroit Will Surprise You

These Pictures Of Vintage Detroit Will Surprise You

Detroit circa 1905. "Woodward Avenue looking north." The soap-and-theater district

Detroit circa 1905. "Woodward Avenue looking north." The soap-and-theater district

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1905. "Goebel Brewing Co., bottling works."

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1905. "Goebel Brewing Co., bottling works."

Garrick Theatre - Old photos — Historic Detroit

Garrick Theatre - Old photos — Historic Detroit

Detroit circa 1919. "View of Madison Theatre and Woodward Avenue." Now playing: "Choosing a Wife" and Fatty Arbuckle in "A Desert Hero." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company.

Detroit circa 1919. "View of Madison Theatre and Woodward Avenue." Now playing: "Choosing a Wife" and Fatty Arbuckle in "A Desert Hero." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company.

Detroit ready to give Gilbert deal for Hudson’s site

$15M deal OK'd for Gilbert to build on Hudson’s site

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