“The old system hasn’t died, and the new system hasn’t been born yet,” says one of the subjects in Beyond the Motor City. He’s talking about urban transportation.
Beyond the Motor City is a critical look at the intersection between mass transit and the renewal of post-industrial Detroit. Director Aaron Wolf is best known for his documentary King Corn, which examined the terrible impact of federal agricultural policy on the American diet and on the small farm.
Thanks to the sponsorship of Citizens for Modern Transit, St. Louis is fortunate to be one of eight cities where Beyond the Motor City is being screened free — Monday, May 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Tivoli. Appropriately, this event falls in Historic Preservation Month. The role of public transportation in cities is often left out of the historic preservation discussion.
Beyond the Motor City examines how Detroit, a grim symbol of America’s diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in this country. The film explores Detroit’s historic investments in infrastructure—from early 19th-century canals to the urban freeways that gave The Motor City its name and made America’s transportation system the envy of the world. But it also reveals that over the last 30 years, much of the world has left Detroit—and America—behind, choosing faster, cleaner, more modern transportation.
In a journey that takes us into the neighborhoods of Detroit and then beyond to Spain, California, and our nation’s capital, Beyond the Motor City urges us to ask how a symbol of America’s urban decay might transform itself into a model of urban revitalization. Can we finally push America’s transit system into the 21st century?
Immediately following the film, there will be a panel discussion moderated by KETC’s Patrick Murphy with Congressman Russ Carnahan, director Woolf, and Citizen for Modern Transit’s Tom Shrout.