Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

statedude3

Detroit Neighborhoods, Development and more

Recommended Posts

With the recent resurgence of life in Downtown Detroit, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the neighborhoods in the city.

Areas like Arden Park, Indian Village, Cambridge and a few other areas are full of nice luxurious homes and mansions. But the fact remains that the majority of the city is over it's head in poverty. Streets like Mack, John R., and Joy were once neighborhood thoroughfares with grocery, pharmacy and other ideal shops that made living in the city very convenient. Forget the big businesses and new parks downtown. I think think one of the main questions issues are the most important in terms of making the neighborhoods viable for people to move into, and how this can happen? Is the city alienating the citizens living the the neighborhoods in favor of accommodating the influx of suburbanites that work downtown? What needs are most important, and should take priority?

This is kind of a selfish thread because not only am I a new resident of the city, but I also work to improve the quality of life within the city, so I'm curious what my Urban Planet buddies have to say about these matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


With the recent resurgence of life in Downtown Detroit, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the neighborhoods in the city.

Areas like Arden Park, Indian Village, Cambridge and a few other areas are full of nice luxurious homes and mansions. But the fact remains that the majority of the city is over it's head in poverty. Streets like Mack, John R., and Joy were once neighborhood thoroughfares with grocery, pharmacy and other ideal shops that made living in the city very convenient. Forget the big businesses and new parks downtown. I think we all know what needs to be done to make the neighborhoods viable for people to move into, but i'm curious to know how this can happen. Is the city alienating the citizens living the the neighborhoods in favor of accommodating the influx of suburbanites that work downtown?

This is kind of a selfish thread because not only am I a new resident INSIDE the city, but I also work to improve the quality of life within the city, so I'm curious what my Urban Planet buddies have to say about these matters.

Revitalizing a city like Detroit is going to kind of be a long process. The way that the city is trying to revitalize the city is to first bring back legitimate jobs into the city. If there are more workers downtown during the day, people will be more inclined to want to live in the city (closer to where they work). With more people living in the city revitalization will naturally occur. I think trying to revitalize a neighborhood where everyone is broke is kind of a losing battle. Me and many people I graduated with had to leave the city for a while in order to find work. This is a prime example of the challenges the city faces. Things like "TechTown" are a sight for sore eyes because this is going to spur additional develpment in the D. In short I think the big projects will eventually have a positive impact on the neighborhoods, even if we can't see it yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The city is starting downtown and working its way out. If Detroit can revitalize its downtown than neighborhoods and the revitalization of neighborhoods will take place. IMO the investment downtown and spurred housing and restoration in Corktown and Brush Park. Its a slow process but has to be started somewhere and i think starting downtown is the best way to go about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best hope the city can have is to attract new immigrants. Just look at what attracting new immigrants has done to Hamtramck over the last decade or two. The city's population was up in 2000 for the first time in decades, and the neighborhoods and commercial strips are as vibrant as ever. Even Southwest Detroit has been able to keep a vibrancy due to the large amount of immigrants who have called that area of Detroit home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do think that Detroit neighborhoods are being overlooked and ignored by the city. I can't tell you how many Detroit residents have told me that in the last couple of months. And these people are all moving out of the city. I'm looking to buy a house with a couple of friends, and it is scary to see how many houses are for sale in Detroit. We're looking in the University District, and it seems like just about every other house is for sale. I hate to say it, but I don't think the exodus of people from the city is slowing at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is somewhat like the chicken/egg question. Does the city need jobs and then people to follow, or does the city need people living there to create jobs?? I think it can go either way, but I think the drastic rate at which people are leaving the city is due more to the poor quality of life than to the job market.

Kwame bragged about repaving thousands of miles of streets in 3 years, which seems like a small point, but that can be huge when considering moving into a neighborhood. Same goes for "turning the lights back on".

p.s. tons of activity all the sudden...looks like I hit a hot topic!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think people will follow the jobs. If all the jobs out in Auburn Hills & Troy moved to downtown you'd see people moving closer in to avoid the long commute.

People do want to live in Detroit. The problem is that the the property taxes and insurance rates are absolutely ridiculous. The city struggles to provide basic services to its residents. Couple that with less than desirable schools and high crime and you've got a recipe for disaster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Certain kinds of people will come for jobs, certain are more attracted to the urban lifestyle. Is one kind better than the other? Perhaps. Is it cheaper to attract those attracted to the lifestyle than it is to attract those who simply want to locate close to their jobs? The situation in Metro Detroit that I see is that millions of people are willing to commute long distances, many commuting over an hour, to live where they want to live -- a house in the suburbs. On the other hand, the places for people who want to live in an urban environment are few and far between - Ferndale, downtown Ann Arbor, downtown Royal Oak, various neighborhoods in Detroit adjacent to Downtown. I know there's huge demand to live in downtown Ann Arbor that the market tries to meet yet the government and the people who control it put severe limitations on the growth of downtown residential there. In downtown Detroit, I see demand that also isn't being met fast enough by loft conversion. And if non-"luxury" downtown condos were to be built (developers only build luxury lofts because I assume they make the most from them) I think you'd get more residents into the city of Detroit faster.

What others have been saying about taxes and crime are also problems. (Then again, adding residents should have an indirect effect on decreasing taxes and crime, which decreases insurance.)

I couldn't tell you how to address the jobs side though. Sure, you could give risky tax breaks to corporations for bringing thousands of jobs in at a time. I would recommend more of an organic, small business approach. Hudkina mentions Hamtramck and Southwest Detroit/Mexicantown, and it's very apt. Hamtramck is awesome and drive through Southwest Detroit for several miles along Vernor Hwy and you'll see hope for many entrepreneurs in the city. I think the city should focus on Downtown first, and at a slightly lesser priority (but more than they are giving now) they should work on Midtown Detroit and Southwest Detroit, with the hope that one day Corktown will bridge Mexicantown and Downtown. The point being that the city government must make sure that at least some neighborhoods (Downtown and Midtown) improve rapidly and stay in good shape, rather than spreading itself thin.

As an aside, maybe more can be done to attract Arab immigrants to the extreme southwest bordering Dearborn, creating a vibrant retail district there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hamtramck is awesome

You're kidding, right? I know Detroit is pretty crappy so there're a lot of places that would appear much better in comparison, but awesome?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're kidding, right? I know Detroit is pretty crappy so there're a lot of places that would appear much better in comparison, but awesome?

Not at all. Hamtramck's a vibrant mixed ethnic enclave within Detroit with good food, walkable streets and daily shopping, nightlife supported by some cool young people. Certainly, it is no Birmingham. It's affordable and still gritty, though getting more expensive. As hudkina mentioned this all has to do with the waves of immigration to this area.

There's plenty of "crappy" places in Detroit (and every American city) but there are also many great neighborhoods that get overlooked giving Detroit as a whole (as well as the nation's exposure to the Metro Detroit region) a "crappy" appearance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a student at Wayne State, I hear a lot of off-the-side talk about students looking at Hamtramck for places to live. They really like it over there mainly because of the change of pace and scenery. A lot of them want to be in the city, but with lower rent and adequate amenity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, Hamtramck is a no-frill town, and many people like that over the frills of say a Birmingham. It is no mistake that Hamtramck is one of the fastest (and only, as a matter of fact) growing cities in the inner-ring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it will. Not anytime soon, anyway. It's still a rough-around-the-edges town that attracts immigrants, something Royal Oak hasn't done (which would help explain the high population loss, along with shrinking household sizes). It's always been a tight, ethnic community, and is only getting more diverse by the month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I certainly want to see Hamtramck hold on to its character and charm, however, it would also be nice to see just a little boost in tourism traffic as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Detroit ever wants to get back to where it was, bring back the jobs that the city lost, cut crime by at least 80%, destroy all the abandoned buildings/lots and put more businesses & residences in place of those eyesores. If all that is done, Detroit will once again go past 1,000,000 in the city limits. A lot of Detroit's decline can be attributed to the pathetic crime rate. 2nd most dangerous with the 3rd highest homicide rate, smh. And the city had 1.8 million in 1950, that was the city's high point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Crime is overrated, especially when you start comparing crime statistics between two different cities. How one city collects crime data is different from how another city collects crime data. Crime statistics don't tell how many crimes actually occured in the city, but rather how many crimes were reported in the city. How and whether or not they are reported is different from city to city.

Also, while every city has innocent victims of rape, robbery, assault, and sometimes murder, for the most part (particularly assault and murder) violent crime victims are associated in some with with the assailant. (I'm willing to bet of the 360 or so people who were murdered in Detroit in 2005, most of them were criminals themselves.)

Secondly, while Detroit did lose a huge chunk of its middle-class population, not all of the population loss that occured since the 50's can be attributed to actual flight. In many cases the population loss is the result of population spread. Detroit in the 1950's was overcrowded with many households containing extended families and in many cases multiple families. Today most households in Detroit have fewer people living in them.

That trend has occured in most other cities around the country, even ones that are growing in population. Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, etc. all probably have smaller household sizes than they did 50 years ago and in turn probably have seen large population losses in the core neighborhoods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Detroit ever wants to get back to where it was, bring back the jobs that the city lost, cut crime by at least 80%, destroy all the abandoned buildings/lots and put more businesses & residences in place of those eyesores. If all that is done, Detroit will once again go past 1,000,000 in the city limits. A lot of Detroit's decline can be attributed to the pathetic crime rate. 2nd most dangerous with the 3rd highest homicide rate, smh. And the city had 1.8 million in 1950, that was the city's high point.

Your make it sound all so simple...

Really, man, if everything was that easy, the city would have been cleaned up long time ago. BTW, crime is overrated in the effect it has had on population loss. There are plenty of other nearly equally or more dangerous cities that are either losing population much slower, slowly gaining, or booming. Crime is an effect, not a cause.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That would help Detroit go back to its glory days.

Oh right! The glory days!

the same glory days that ultimately led this city down to the ground; is that right?

Mich is right. You make it sound like it can be done overnight, with a snap of the finger. Its a long grueling process trying to bring back a former world class city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do think that Detroit neighborhoods are being overlooked and ignored by the city. I can't tell you how many Detroit residents have told me that in the last couple of months. And these people are all moving out of the city. I'm looking to buy a house with a couple of friends, and it is scary to see how many houses are for sale in Detroit. We're looking in the University District, and it seems like just about every other house is for sale. I hate to say it, but I don't think the exodus of people from the city is slowing at all.

Wouldn't that be a benefit for people to move to Detroit, being that they could easily find a home there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn't that be a benefit for people to move to Detroit, being that they could easily find a home there?

Uh no. Its a sign that there is a lack of infrastructure and amentities. Wouldnt you think twice about moving into a neighborhood that everyone is trying to get out of?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always here people using the excuse "the city isn't doing enough for the neighborhoods." What I would like to know is what is the city not doing that it should be doing in the neighborhoods? I need specifics. I truly believe that the city has shrunk so much that there are declined neighborhoods that the city can no longer spread it's resources to. Everyone deserves adequate police protection, trash pick-up, lighted streets and the like. But, is there a point where we have to be realistic about it all, and realize that the city is working with much, much less than it used to?

The city has to spread its resources over the same amount of area it's had to for decades, but with less than half the former population. Distance and density are becoming factors, now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about this specifically, no more bulk trash collection!

http://www.ci.detroit.mi.us/HomePage/Bulk_Change.htm

This will have more of a negative impact on the city than any decision Kilpatrick has made since he became mayor. If you think the city looks trashy now just give it a couple of months. The residents of Detroit are already burdened with excessive taxes and most can not afford to pay for private thrash collection. In addition, many are elderly and can not be loading up their cars to take trash to drop off points. What will happen is that trash will be dumped all over the city. It will be dumped in its

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't buy the density argument. Detroit and Atlanta are nearly identical in size. Yet Detroit still has more than twice the population of Atlanta. Detroit's population loss isn't why the city can't afford to provide services to its citizens. It's that bureaucracy and mismanagement have driven the city into financial crisis. The city needs to operate like its a major corporation on the verge of bankruptcy. Cut staff, unload and privitize unneeded services, cut staff, reorganize and streamline the remaining services, and cut staff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.