Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the US. In the middle of the 20th century, the population of Motor City swelled to 1.9m. Yet the rot set in soon afterwards and global competition saw many car manufacturers move to cheaper plants in Mexico and Canada. By 2015, there were only 677,116 residents remaining.

The city has proved resilient, however, as Patti Waldmeir discovers. Writing in this edition of FT Wealth, she reveals a city reinventing itself as entrepreneurs arrive from across the US. Drawn by cheap office space and low housing costs, start-ups are springing up to replace the empty lots left by the removal of decaying houses. The city has a long way to go to match its heyday, but other municipalities across America’s Rustbelt are taking notice.

History has been kinder to the Santo Domingo family, as the FT’s Latin America editor John Paul Rathbone uncovers. Tracing the family’s rise and rise, he takes a walk through “the side streets of Valledupar, a dusty ranching town in the Colombian outback”. The destination? “A pretty but unremarkable one-storey building on the corner of Valledupar’s town square… an unlikely beginning of a great fortune.”

Beirut still bears the scars of its recent history. Riven by civil war in the 1970s and ‘80s, the city has largely been rebuilt. Yet the famed St George Hotel, host to stars such as Brigitte Bardot, remains a husk on the seafront. Its rival, the Phoenicia, has been rebuilt and flourishes. Ferry Biedermann unpicks a tale of two hotels that stands as a reflection of the country’s more recent history.

hugo.greenhalgh@ft.com
@hugo_greenhalgh

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