Detroit is an important international center of business, history, arts, and culture. The historical dominance of the automotive industry, and numerous industries prior including carriages, furniture, and trade have given Detroit a well-deserved reputation as a major metropolitan center. Detroit has become synonymous with the cutting-edge of innovation. This is both through innovations associated with the automobile in mass production and the five dollar day, but also more recently in culture and the arts. The Motown Sound and notable contemporary musicians including Eminem, Madonna, The White Stripes, and others too numerous to name have given Detroit a reputation of being a home for musical innovators.
Strong cultural institutions such as Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit Public Library, African-American History Museum, and many others all help to create an environment that is stimulating and engaging for residents and visitors alike. One of the largest downtown theater restoration programs began in the 1970s with an effort to save Orchestra Hall. This was followed by efforts to preserve the historic State Theater and Capitol Theater, both built by C. Howard Crane; and the moving and restoration of the Gem/Century Theater by Chuck Forbes.
Even as overall population has shrunk since the 1950s, many neighborhoods such as Midtown and New Center have undergone a resurgence, which gained strength in the 1990s. This period has been marked by increasing regional collaboration to deal with pressing needs and problems, best expressed through the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, the Detroit 300 Conservancy and their award-winning Campus Martius Park, and numerous other organizations and initiatives. The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation also deserves credit for being a major driver of improvement, especially downtown, with such notable projects as the Lofts Along Woodward, Book-Cadillac Hotel restoration, and streetscape/boulevard improvements.
Downtown Detroit near Broadway.