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Old 11-04-2011, 12:17 PM
5,951 posts, read 13,029,891 times
Reputation: 4803


I was thinking:

For the longest time, there was something in the back of my head, in my fascination and interest in learning everything about Detroit, that I always had a bit different perspective on Detroits abandoned buildings, abandoned streets, etc.

Most people look at it and might be disgusted and turned off, however although I was never able to understand, why there was something about it that made me think that the abandonedment is not necessarily a bad thing. Now I think I know why.

Coming from the Chicago suburbs, I have lived through Chicagos revitalization over the last 30 years. So many areas that were run down and had crime infested, are vibrant "yuppie" playgrounds.

But heres the thing, those run down/crime infested areas, in most cases still had a real community there. And although its very subtle, in many cases that gentrification/revitalization caused current residents to feel displaced, generally the ones moving in were white, the ones lived there already, generally hispanic (more so than african american on the north side of Chicago). Rising cost of living, etc. caused displacement, tearing down of Cabrini Green causing displacement, formerly stable neighborhoods further out, creating tensions, while the newly gentrified areas still had gang presence, etc., etc.

So, I was thinking: now that there have been some real postive news in downtown, midtown, corktown, etc.

is Detroit in a better position when the gentrification/revitalization spreads to other areas, as the areas getting better are very close to areas that are virtually abandoned:

Eastern market close to nearly abandoned/prairie of near northeast side, Corktown close to north Corktown/Briggs, Cass Corridor/Brush Park between downtown and midtown.

As Detroit goes on an upswing, I think the city will experience much less class and race/ethnic tension than say Chicago, because the areas that are going to see investment hardly have anyone living in them at this point??

What do you think?

I personally think that there is some real benefit/advantage to urban neighborhoods that were once a hotbed of crime and other social problems, to become virtually abandoned BEFORE they become revitalized and gentrified.
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Old 11-04-2011, 03:49 PM
5,951 posts, read 13,029,891 times
Reputation: 4803
I realized now, that my opening post might be a little confusing/rambling.

Here it is simplified:

Is the depopulated condition of many areas close to downtown, midtown, corktown, etc. a blessing in disguise for when those areas (IE: east of Eastern Market, north of Corktown and even the lower Cass Corridor/Brush Park, areas along Jefferson)

become revitalized and gentrified they won't really involve much of shift of demographics/displacement of residents because there is so much opportunity for

either new development or rehabbing older buildings because there is so much to work with.

The reason why I think this is a blessing in disguise, is because there is hardly anyone living in those areas, and therefore Detroit can become better without developing any potential race/class/ethnicity tension that has gentrification/revitalization can often bring?

There thats more clear and condensced.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:30 PM
Location: Detroit
3,671 posts, read 5,840,373 times
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I see what your saying. Like they can make the area near eastern market a big college student/ young professional hub, a huge vibrant greektown type of place, or another Lafayette Park type place with alot of condos and stuff. Im sure plenty of people have plans of what some of these areas could be. The only thing is... we need a leader to ignite the flame. Think of the movie Happy Feet where all the pingwins was scared to jump in the water and everybody was look "who is gonna go first" and one of them jumped in and then the rest of them followed. Pretty much that situation. I read this form a long time ago when someone was joking around and said "lets all up and move to Detroit and revitalize it" and lots of serious posters said "I would do it if it was alot more people doing it also". That's about the same attitude towards businesses people, they don't want to be alone in trying to revitalize that area and their plans fail loosing money in the process. I can guess that it takes MAJOR guts to try to start a revitalization of an area. That is the problem. How did they do it in Chicago???
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:34 PM
Location: Michigan
4,647 posts, read 8,541,445 times
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I don't think there'd be any tension whatsoever. And if someone decided to plop an out of place development, Detroiters would be quick to point it out. Actually, this almost happened in the area between Conner and Morningside. That whole area was going to be redeveloped up until the market crash in 2007 -08. Only a few streets ended up with new houses, but no doubt if it wasn't for the sour economy, Detroit would already be filling empty land in those areas you mentioned and then some.

Now, if the economy slowly slowly grows, you'll probably start to see developments along Jefferson and Cass. I don't know how much development, but my guess is that it'd be one new development (not including reusing old buildings) every few months, rather than a bunch all at once.

So yes, it is a blessing, and developers that haven't gone under are no doubt just waiting for the green light to continue/start on some projects. That green light would probably have to do with banks and loans and whatnot, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:28 PM
Location: Northern Mississippi
1 posts, read 1,718 times
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As a native Detroiter who left for a warmer climate, I will be the first to say that there is no place like home (ok, maybe not the first to say, but...).

I have lived and worked in many places to include Memphis TN, Nesbit MS, Tulsa OK and Little Rock AR and with that exposure; I will say that truly, there is no place like home.

Detroit with all its glory and gory, is bar none, the best place to plant and build roots and develop a life. Whether it be gentrification, revitalization or simple weathering the storm; Detroit is a great place for one or all.
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:33 PM
Location: southern california
61,290 posts, read 87,066,921 times
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well if i understand the concept. the wasps are the problem, whether they gentrify or whether they white flight. so how could they ever be the solution? when the community think they have a problem then and only then will there be progress and not b4. having "outsiders" come fix it has not and will not work. 416 million federal dollars later.
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:06 PM
Location: North of Canada, but not the Arctic
20,849 posts, read 19,322,755 times
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I agree with you Tex?Il?. It's easier to redevelop a crime-ridden area after all the criminals (and various other types of people) have moved out than it would be to try and do it while they are still present. White suburbanites do not want to move into areas that are predominantly black.
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:11 PM
Location: Kittanning
4,692 posts, read 8,981,503 times
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Abandonment is not good for the prospects of neighborhood revitalization, because with abandonment comes demolition, and with demolition comes loss of historic buildings and a cohesive neighborhood identity. It's best when current residents take a stand to save and restore a neighborhood when there is still some material left to work with. I also think surviving historic and beautiful Victorian architecture is often what inspires people to live in distressed areas, besides the lure of being close to the city center.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:01 AM
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Detroit, however, has (for all intents and purposes) no Victorian neighborhoods to gentrify. Detroit was a small town until the advent of the automotive age, which was also right around the time the Victorian age was ending. If Detroit ever had many Victorian homes, they were likely torn down to make way for the skyscrapers built during the growth circa 1910-29.

Last edited by 313 TUxedo; 11-05-2011 at 05:02 AM.. Reason: fix typo grown=> growth
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:56 AM
7,237 posts, read 12,685,101 times
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It's not JUST victorian housing that people look for when moving into neighborhoods, but also walkable neighborhoods, which Detroit lacks. New York and Chicago (and Philadelphia to a reasonable extent) doesn't have much victorian housing in the areas being gentrified now either, but densely built housing (nothing special actually, Detroit had this too at one point) with plenty of retail establishment kit together in short walking distances along the nearest main street.

Fact of the matter is if someone really wanted to gentrify a neighborhood, and do you note gentrification by the strictest definition means that middle/upper class families are replacing lower class families, and middle/upper class families have a lot more demands for their tax dollars than yuppies will, they would have to convince then to walk away from their already underwater mortgages in the suburbs, since the house will likely never be sold anytime soon in this market, where they can get emergecny response in no more than 5 minutes, excellent schools and a plethora of shopping options in relatively short distance, they would have to take a risk on a neighborhood and damn near live in anarchy on the HOPE that it will become a great and vibrant area again, despite having absolutely no leg to stand on.

The thing with gentrification in other cities too is those neighborhoods never completely emptied out and also their cities knew better than to just demolish every piece of rubble in the area that had only been vacated for less than a year. Other cities also had a ban on the limits of their suburban sprawl AND many other cities also have a residency requirement (which essentially still locked people in the ghettohoods, as they call them, since the middle/upper class couldn't as easily flee from their current neighborhoods), which Detroit has neither and thus is going to face an even harder time with this even ignoring the other (lack of service relative to the taxes paid) factors.
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