ReROOTing The Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation

Like many recent documentaries, commercials, and news programs about Detroit, ReRooting the Motor City, Notes on a City in Transformation opens with familiar images of closed factories, abandoned houses, and the shell of the infamous Michigan Central Station. But, what Paper Tiger does is critique how often those images are recycled and de-contextualized in ways that sensationalize and exploit devastation, rather than reveal an understanding of the systematic abandonment of Detroit.

ReRooting The Motor City provides lots of analysis by highlighting the voices of veteran labor activists, local historians, rappers, and urban gardeners. These homegrown experts explain how housing segregation and urban renewal facilitated the movement of whites to the suburbs and left a mainly black city with shrinking jobs and services. However, ReRooting The Motor City is not about despair. The last third of the film is spent with grassroots urban agricultural activists who are redefining how land is used, how work is organized, and how a community can be nourished. Shown in contrast, is the corporate model of urban agriculture as proposed by John Hantz, which the grassroots activists see as a land grab. ReRooting The Motor City is a must see. For more information, contact Paper Tiger Television.