detroit_skylineDetroit, land of opportunity?Photo: AriaJournalists and filmmakers from around the globe have been descending on Detroit for a couple of years now to document its crumbling buildings, its weedy jungles of vacant lots, and its desperately unemployed. The story is usually cast as one of terminal decline and hopelessness. Reporters sometimes seem like they’re gawking at a highway wreck.

Less often does the media look at the city as an urban frontier where anything is possible — including the community-based agriculture efforts recently covered by Grist’s own Tom Philpott.

Now, from an unlikely source, comes a sweet little series of films that looks on the brighter side of Detroit. You might be surprised at the host — Johnny Knoxville, of Jackass fame. And yes, these documentaries were produced as a promotion for trendy Palladium Boots (good for stomping around urban rubble?).

Don’t let that put you off. The filmmakers move beyond what one resident calls “ruin porn” and find people who are working to build a new Detroit.

As one young entrepreneur says, “[Detroit] is a blank canvas for developing business, for just about anything you can think of. Right now is the possibility to really change the city.”

Hat tip to the always excellent Rust Wire.