Austin Black - Post 1: Turning Challenges Into Opportunities
It's been six years since I graduated from Cornell University… Time really does fly. Back in 2003, my initial plan did not include returning to Michigan. Being a lover of urban areas since a young child, I had dreams of moving to Washington DC or New York City.
Living in DC for a semester got me excited about the idea of not having a car and using the subway as a primary mode of transportation. Living in Rome for six months got me addicted to walkable neighborhoods. Growing up in Michigan, mass transit and walkable neighborhoods was more a dream than reality.
So why did I come back?
My love for urban areas began in Detroit and I hope it ends that way. As a young child, I remember coming downtown to the Thanksgiving Day Parade and being more interested in the architecture than the floats. I also remember going to my mom's office at the Renaissance Center and asking her coworkers tons of questions about who designed certain buildings. During my high school days, I frequently dragged friends downtown kicking and screaming, to take pictures, go out to eat, or just hang out.
My ultimate decision to come back to Michigan was driven by the progress and opportunities I saw in Detroit. There have been many setbacks in my journey but the decision to move back is one that I do not regret and I would make the same choice if I had to do it all over again.
Over the next two weeks, I will talk about the opportunities for young people to make their mark on shaping Detroit's future.