Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The renaissance of Detroit - am I missing something?

With the exception of about 12 months, I've spent my entire life in the Detroit area, and spent my formative years in the city proper. I've seen the city at its worst, and I try to remain hopeful that Detroit's best days are ahead.

Nevertheless, I am beginning to grow weary of all of this talk of Detroit's so-called "renaissance". I'm well aware of the various projects that have been occurring over the last several years, especially the residential developments in Midtown and the on-going transformation of the riverfront area.

However, I just can't see how the vast majority of Detroiters will benefit from these developments. It seems that the revitalization of Detroit really refers to the revitalization of a few select areas south of Grand Blvd. near the city's downtown that have all of a sudden been designated as "hip".

Look, I'm not saying these projects shouldn't happen, as the city sorely needs any type of positive development that it can attract. At the same time, city leaders need to pay attention to what's happening in Detroit's various neighborhoods, where virtually no significant development has occurred in recent history, save for the occasional strip mall here and there, as well as a few megachurches (the topic of a future post).

Where's the development on Seven Mile and Greenfield? How about Linwood and Puritan? Schoolcraft and Evergreen? (Sorry, I don't mean to ignore my east-siders, I just don't know the intersections over there that well.) Don't the people who live in these neighborhoods, the ones who stuck it out when others left years ago, deserve the same opportunities as those who are fortunate enough to be able to buy $200K lofts in Midtown?

The renaissance of Detroit will not begin in full until more of its residents, from 8 Mile to Belle Isle, from Telegraph to Alter Road, begin to see improvements in their own backyards, and not just in select pockets.

No comments: