Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Detroit & Turin

I often wonder if the continuous comparisons of Detroit to the Italian City of Turin are apt or even fair. Sure both were the respective auto industry leaders but Turin has a much richer history and deeper roots than Detroit ever had before the car. Turin was the home to Savoy kings and a key point of contention during the period before the 20th century for its rich agricultural lands. It also has an urban core with palaces, ornate churches and still standing roman gates. While Fiat and Ford might have a lot in common, I imagine it was much easier to set Turin back on the right path than it will be for Detroit. I just wonder if its fair to compare the two.

After visiting Turin, it's quite astonishing to think that it once had so many issues. Everywhere my parents and I went was fairly exciting from the large public market to the Egyptian Museum second only to Egypt itself. From a superficial perspective it didn't seem any different from Milan which is the largest economic generator in Italy, ahead of Rome. But it seemed as if there was more for the Piedmont region to work with. It wasn't far from the alps for skiing and wasn't far from wine country either. With this in mind I feel as if Detroit has a lot more work to do than Turin might have had. And while some of the lessons such as using the skills you have to reinvent yourself are part of the toolbox, I feel there are a lot more tools that need to be built from scratch.

This post is also another opportunity to share pictures...

One of the original malls

Turin Italy

Turin from the needle

Turin Italy

The largest outdoor market i've ever seen

Turin Italy

The Superga

Turin Italy

IGuido car sharing

Italy Transport

Buses and Arches

Italy Transport

South of Turin is Wine and Food Country

Piedmont Towns Day 2

This is the town of Barolo for you wine lovers

Piedmont Towns Day 2


W. K. Lis said...

Detroit would have torn down the arch for wider buses, instead of getting narrower buses.

Alon Levy said...

Reading those articles, you'd never have guessed that the Detroit metro area was doing okay until GM imploded in 2005. The city had been floundering for decades, but that's because of local poverty and racial segregation, not regional stagnation. The only way in which Detroit metro was doing poorly before 2005 was in its stagnant population growth; however, Turin's population growth is actually negative, as is the population growth of all other major Italian urban areas.

Ben Ross said...

Largest outdoor market? Have you seen the bazaar in Samarkand? Even if it's not largest overall, surely the hundred or so spice vendors, each selling loose spices out of burlap bags, win in that category.

And it relocated to its present terrain when the city rebuilt after being burnt down by Genghis Khan.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Nope I haven't seen it, but when I do see it, I'm sure it will be the largest I have ever seen.

Party Bus Detroit said...

The difference is night and day.