Can't Detroit ever win?

Last week, both TIME and Fortune put Detroit on their covers. For some cities, cover stories are the icing on their civic pride cake, but for Detroit, any attention is better than no attention, even when the stories are full of bad PR.

The Detroit Tigers' 6-5 loss in a one-game playoff Tuesday to the Minnesota Twins seems symbolic of the city that never catch es a break. But it's not just on the playing field where Detroit's Tigers or Lions or Red Wings seem to lose in the end.

Take the Wall Street Journal's recent list of the "hot" cities for new graduates, with Washington and Seattle at the top. Detroit wasn't even mentioned.

Or take this month's Case Shiller report: Detroit home prices fell by 0.8 percent, while Minneapolis home prices were up 4.6 percent. Even Cleveland's home prices were up 4.2 percent! Only Las Vegas had a worse showing.

As native son Dan Okrent notes in his TIME article, Detroit has shrunk from America's fourth biggest city to its eleventh largest. But while New Orleans seems to be bouncing back after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Detroit is taking one step forward and two steps back.

Okrent notes what a great place Detroit was to grow up-at least as long as the manufacturing boom was creating jobs: "Most of us thought Detroit was pretty wonderful back in the '50s and early '60s, its mighty industrial engine humming in top gear, filling America's roads with the nation's signifying product and the city's houses and streets with nearly 2 million people." Back then, Detroit was unironically called the "City of Homeowners." Not these days. With an unemployment rate hovering around an astounding 17 percent, there's hardly a housing a boom these days in Motor City.

Some of our co-workers at AOL Autos live and work in the Detroit area, including Programming Manager Adam Morath, who grew up outside of Detroit in suburban Grosse Pointe.

"Detroit real estate is really fascinating," says Morath. "There are some neighborhoods where you can rent or purchase literal mansions very inexpensively. Other areas are seeing growth/rebirth, while certain regions seem absolutely hopeless."

Of course, if you're a renter, falling prices only make a city more lovable.

For younger, tech-savy workers like Morath, who just need a laptop and a high-speed connection to make a living, Detroit can be a dream: Housing is affordable (very), there's plenty to do, and there's cheap flights out of Detroit's airport to Florida and beyond. Spirit Air, a low-price Southwest imitator, flies there from LaGuardia, and they fly practically nowhere.

And what city could boast Motown's Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and the Jackson 5, not to mention the MC5, the Stooges, Alice Cooper and alterna-stars such as The White Stripes and Sufjan Stevens?

A city that produces Kwawme Kilpatrick and the Big 3 -- O.K., the big 2 -- can't be all bad.
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