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I've speculated that one of the reasons Chicagoans tolerate mediocre to terrible local governance is that, well, we're not Detroit (whether governance has anything to do with that is a separate matter). Along those lines, here's a Toquevillian look at Detroit by two Frenchmen; it's a little old, but still interesting. They mention one of the few good things that's come from the city's collapse: the Heidelberg Project, a remarkable combination of outsider art, urban critique, and grassroots renewal that's celebrating its 20th anniversary (with a book, among other things) this year and puts even Chicago's impressive public art to shame. Imagine if Millennium Park was built around a block of abandoned houses over the course of 20 years, mostly through the work of one artist, and that's the Heidelberg Project.