I realize this is old news, and my opinion is one of way too many, so I won’t spend any time on it at this point. I generally find there are two types of people, those who think “good riddance”, with hopes for Detroit’s complete demise, and those who think the only direction is up, and that, in fact, despite the bankruptcy Detroit is in the beginning stages of an exciting rebirth.
As usual, I tend to find myself trying to occupy some kind of middle ground. Detroit is really as bad as the pessimists say, and it’s probably as exciting as the boosters say. How can it be both? Well, it depends on who you are, where you come from, how you make your living, what you expect from the city, and your past experiences in Detroit. Some people have experienced terrible violence, poverty, and despair in the city, while some young newcomers have only experienced the exciting opportunities that might await the young, educated, creative, and often somewhat privileged background. Both experiences are real, and are happening everyday in Detroit. What I saw over the years was that a few areas were experiencing the gentrification of young, hip, educated creative types, while the majority of the city was suffering from the former, namely poverty and violence.
I read this article in the Free Press a few weeks ago, and one paragraph in particular highlighted the divide I experienced over the years:
The projects underscore what appears to be a dichotomy in Detroit’s real-estate market, where a few trendy areas in and around the city’s core continue to attract young professionals and empty nesters as most other city neighborhoods cope with a decaying housing stock, abandoned structures and rock-bottom land prices.
There were a few other interesting parts as well:
Like all recent downtown and Midtown developments, this east riverfront project would depend on a hodgepodge of various government subsidies and foundation support, as Detroit rents are not yet high enough to support all-private ventures.
Unfortunately, this problem won’t change until enough people are making enough money to support the needed rental prices.