background preloader

Detroit Research

Facebook Twitter

Detroit’s Fight Against Blight. At one level, a new report about blight in Detroit can be seen as a cartographic inventory of the abandoned homes, vacant lots and rundown industrial sites that have spread through the once-thriving Motor City like a metastasized cancer.

Detroit’s Fight Against Blight

But there is another way to look at this important document: as the starting point for fresh conversation about what needs to be done to stabilize and revive Detroit and other declining cities around the country. The report, which is based on an ambitious building-by-building census conducted by paid surveyors and volunteers, shows that 78,506 buildings, or 30 percent of the city’s structures, are dilapidated or at risk of becoming so. An additional 114,000 parcels of land are empty. At its peak in 1950, Detroit was home to 1.85 million people; it now has 700,000 residents.

Given the depths of the decline, reviving Detroit will take many years. Drop Dead, Detroit! For the past twenty-one years, L.

Drop Dead, Detroit!

Motown Down. If you were to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, home to Diego Rivera’s magnificent murals depicting scenes at the Ford Motor Company in the early nineteen-thirties, and then take a stroll through the surrounding streets, you might be surprised at what you would find: coffee shops frequented by young hipsters; old warehouses being converted to lofts; bike racks; houses undergoing renovation; a new Whole Foods supermarket.

Motown Down

After decades of white flight, black flight, and urban decay, Detroit is being spoken of, in some circles, as “the new Portland,” or “the new Brooklyn.” This gentrification extends only to a relatively small area, but it is worth keeping in mind when reading about the city’s bankruptcy filing—by far the biggest municipal-bankruptcy case in U.S. history. Anatomy of Detroit’s Decline - Interactive Feature. Mayor Coleman A. Young of Detroit at an event in 1980. Richard Sheinwald/Associated Press The financial crisis facing Detroit was decades in the making, caused in part by a trail of missteps, suspected corruption and inaction.

Here is a sampling of some city leaders who trimmed too little, too late and, rather than tackling problems head on, hoped that deep-rooted structural problems would turn out to be cyclical downturns. Charles E. Edward Jeffries, who served as mayor from 1940 to 1948, developed the Detroit Plan, which involved razing 100 blighted acres and preparing the land for redevelopment. Albert Cobo was considered a candidate of the wealthy and of the white during his tenure from 1950 to 1957. Coleman A. Kwame M. Dave Bing, a former professional basketball star, took office in 2009 pledging to solve Detroit’s fiscal problems, which by then were already overwhelming.

Related. Detroit's population loss slows; some suburbs see gains. Detroit continues to lose residents, but the population loss appears to be slowing, with about 1% moving out between 2013 and 2014, according to estimates released today by the U.S.

Detroit's population loss slows; some suburbs see gains

Census Bureau. In the tri-county area, the Oakland County suburbs of Lyon and Oakland townships and Sylvan Lake, as well as Macomb and Washington townships in Macomb County grew the fastest, according to the estimates. The census makes the estimates annually based on a review of birth and death records, as well as migration. Demographer Kurt Metzger said Detroit's population loss appears to be easing. "It continues to average about 1% loss per year," said Metzger, now mayor of Pleasant Ridge. The Post-Post-Apocalyptic Detroit. Photo In downtown Detroit, at the headquarters of the online-mortgage company Quicken Loans, there stands another downtown Detroit in miniature.

The Post-Post-Apocalyptic Detroit

The diorama, made of laser-cut acrylic and stretching out over 19 feet in length, is a riot of color and light: Every structure belonging to Quicken’s billionaire owner, Dan Gilbert, is topped in orange and illuminated from within, and Gilbert currently owns 60 of them, a lordly nine million square feet of real estate in all. He began picking up skyscrapers just three and a half years ago, one after another, paying as little as $8 a square foot. He bought five buildings surrounding Capitol Park, the seat of government when Michigan became a state in 1837. He snapped up the site of the old Hudson’s department store, where 12,000 employees catered to 100,000 customers daily in the 1950s.

Property costs have dropped to the point that barriers to ownership — to a sort of mogulhood, even — are absurdly low. Continue reading the main story. Can Detroit Return To Its Former Glory? The population of Detroit has dwindled, and now there aren't enough taxpayers to pick up the tab for essential city services.

Can Detroit Return To Its Former Glory?

Paul Sancya/AP hide caption toggle caption Paul Sancya/AP The population of Detroit has dwindled, and now there aren't enough taxpayers to pick up the tab for essential city services. Paul Sancya/AP. Bankrupt Detroit's downtown renaissance creates trickle of hope.