“Everything that we are doing, from the time we get up in the morning, we’re thinking about: How are we going to build the city where the population is growing again?” Mr. Duggan said. “And that’s ultimately what’s going to define this: Do more people want to move in, or do more people want to move out?”

If the dynamics in all of this are daunting, Mr. Duggan — whose friends recall an old nickname for him, the Pit Bull, and whose critics call him unrealistic — shows no sign of noticing.

“I’d like to see a city where the police show up when you call, where the streetlights work at night, where the buses run on time and where the abandoned properties are gone,” Mr. Duggan said on a recent afternoon. “But more than anything else, five years from now, I expect the population of the city of Detroit to be growing again.” (from the New York Times, 12/31/2013)