Founded in 1823 by settlers from other parts of the Michigan territory, New York, and Vermont, Southfield took its name from its location, in the "south fields" of Bloomfield Township. Today it is located in Oakland County and is part of metro Detroit, thriving as a business center and multicultural community.
The city grew rapidly between 1950 and 1990-a period when many Detroit residents chose to leave the inner city for the suburbs-and gradually established its own police department (1953), built a city hall (1964), and added a sports arena and golf course (1972) to the Civic Center complex. A thriving Jewish community established synagogues and Hebrew schools in the 1970s, and by the 1990s a growing population of African Americans added to Southfield's diversity, which also includes substantial Armenian, Chaldean, and Russian populations. Today Southfield's total population is about 75,000 people.
The international flavor of the city extends to its business base, with 25 percent of Oakland County's international firms (and half of all its Japanese-owned companies) located in Southfield. The five golden skyscrapers of Southfield Town Center-a complex containing more than two million square feet of office space-anchors the city's handsome skyline and signals the high-tech trends of emerging business development. But even though business is a prime driver in Southfield, this middle-income city is family-friendly, with spacious parks, pleasant neighborhoods, and an array of civic amenities.
The City of Southfield's Business Development Team works aggressively to attract businesses and keep them growing. In fact, Southfield's daytime population swells from 77,000 to 175,000 with people commuting into the city for employment. Southfield is home to:
Southfield is part of the Great Lakes Interchange, partnering with Oakland County, Lawrence Technological University, Oakland University, and the Automation Alley SmartZone. The Interchange-which ranks fourth in the nation for high-tech employment-offers technology firms, entrepreneurs, and researchers the opportunity to work in a centralized location, with access to community assets.
One big attraction for businesses: Ninety-eight percent of Southfield has access to high-speed fiber optics, broadband, and satellite services. That's part of the reason more than 350 IT and telecom companies and more than 90 software development companies are part of the Southfield business community, including A&, Verizon, Sprint, Comcast, IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems.
Other high-tech industries in Southfield include electronic media and satellite facilities; health care and life sciences; and research and development firms.
A thriving hotel industry and easy access to Detroit Metropolitan Airport make Southfield an attractive venue for conventions and business meetings.
Southfield's top employers are:
Although business is a major focus in Southfield, the city is also a thriving residential community, with an excellent network of public schools, a wide variety of private educational institutions, and more than 700 acres of park land (including 333 acres dedicated to nature preserves). City amenities provide a high quality of life for families and seniors, with plenty of opportunities for entertainment both in Southfield and in nearby Detroit.
Southfield's three high schools, three middle schools, and eight elementary schools are part of three different school districts: Oak Park (with a 2007 enrollment of 4,277); Southfield (9,425); and Birmingham (8,129). Radio station WSHJ 88.3 is sponsored by Southfield Public Schools.
Southfield offers its disabled residents a variety of activities-including wheelchair basketball, golf, and tennis-at the Beech Woods Recreation Center. Southfield Parks and Recreation sponsors the Junior Michigan Thunderbirds team, which competes in the Junior Division of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.
Southfield is also home to Michigan's first Miracle League baseball field, where children with mental and physical challenges play on special fields, equipped with synthetic turf and offering handicapped access to dugouts, restrooms, and drinking fountains.
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