It started with Henry Ford's invention of the automobile and the subsequent economic boom. It then traveled through a bunch of ups and downs throughout history including the 1929 stock market crash, Great Depression, WWII/industry bail out, 50s car boom, highway system, racial riots burning down the city, mass flight out of Detroit occurs to surrounding suburbs, 70s oil crisis brings Japanese competition, plants close, the last cheap oil/gas guzzling car boom occurs (Hummer) and of course ends with the $4 gas spike, credit crisis, housing bust, unemployment and GM bankruptcy.
It then looks forward and sees opportunities in urban agriculture and the new auto industry. People should know this history. The downtown looks pretty good today. I think people could build out Detroit from its core by moving business headquarters out of suburbia and back into the city. That's what Dan Gilbert recently did with Quicken Loans. See my post: Quicken Loans Moving 1700 Employees to Detroit, Light Rail Coming #Detroit. Plus Ford is making moves: Ford Finds Its Cool Selling the Hot Fiesta: To promote the hip, new Fiesta subcompact to younger buyers, Ford went viral. So far the campaign has been a hit (BusinessWeek). Hopefully the documentary video stays up or appears on their website.