hey, my first post on mothering.com...
i have lived in detroit for 4 years... two different neighborhoods. i highly suggest Southwest Detroit. there are loads of children in southwest, mostly spanish-speaking and many of the parents are undocumented. but i will warn you, cheap houses always need plenty of work. a friend down the street bought one for $11K and in the first six months had to replace the roof, put in all the radiators (had been stripped), and many homes are missing boilers. insurance companies won't always insure you here without upgrades to the roof and it's difficult to convince the city to lower your taxes... they base the tax rate often on the cost of the house when sold a few years ago (which could be $100K down to $10K today).
life can be great here, but it's also full of difficulties that you don't face in other cities. there are many opportunities, but there is also plenty of violence in any neighborhood (mine is great! and there are regular murders of sex workers and robberies in the middle of the afternoon... car theft, awful car insurance rates...). i am very close to my neighbors; i called some when i miscarried and they stayed with me for hours when my partner wasn't available. i don't think i'd have that if i was in a different city, we depend on each other more here.
public transit is OK. biking is GREAT! buses are not regular and take hours when the drive could be 15 minutes in a car. my partner and i share a car, i use it 1 day per week and bike/walk everywhere else. neighbors are often willing to lend cars or let you know when they run out to a different neighborhood with grocers or markets.
so, i don't know what else to say... great resources for urban gardening... awesome farmers markets year-round... friendly neighbors... but also your kids will see sex workers regularly, ads for strip clubs, pot and drinking on the street, homeless folks all over the place. i'm ok with that, but i know a lot of folks are not.
you'll want to get really involved if you move here... i help out at a soup kitchen, garden with neighbors, walk to work and greet folks that i meet... but it's not always happy and comfortable.
that's my take, others may say otherwise -- like NY Times articles only interviewing entreprenuers. it's no hipster paradise like a lot of folks make it out to be. i wouldn't want it to be... the midtown neighborhood is getting to be that way and there are regular conflicts with street folk and hipsters... art theft, vandalism... but there is not enough respect on both ends. street folk are residents of Detroit too.