Pete Saunders at Urbanophile details why, among all US cities, Detroit fell so fast and so hard.
Detroit was unique in putting all its eggs in the corporate caretaker basket. Once the auto industry became established in Detroit, political and business leaders abdicated their responsibility on sound urban planning and design, and elected to let the booming economy do the work for them.
Among the nine points he makes is that lack of planning led to poor housing stock. The city is filled with 3 bedroom, 1 bath Cape Cod houses that were built after WW II and are still there. Obviously, these are not what people want now. Read the whole article, it’s comprehensive and thoughtful.