Just as it rose from a literal fire in 1805, Detroit must once again recover from an extremely difficult past. Over the past few days I have noticed how this plays into a shared identity of the Detroit people. Detroiters accept the perils of the past and acknowledge the difficult path ahead, but keep a positive attitude for the potential change that can come in the future. As we saw in the Heidelberg project, Detroiters are not afraid to push boundaries to make change or acknowledge tough realities, no matter how scary they may seem. Seeing the Heidelberg project also made me think of a few things: Beauty and creativity come in many forms and even if something makes you uncomfortable, you should still explore it to learn more about it. Along our tour, I appreciated the guide’s willingness to expose the negative sides as well as the positive sides of Detroit. He did not shy away from the tough realities of the city. One of the most memorable moments so far has been talking to three women on the Q- line back from the scavenger hunt. Their passion for Detroit and their kindness made me feel even more welcome in Detroit. I was completely surprised by the passion from these women and our tour guide.
In my eight weeks in Detroit, I want to do whatever I can to push Detroit further along its upward trajectory path towards revitalization. Now that I have seen various projects such as the new park downtown and the river walk as well as the work our community partners are doing, I have a greater confidence in the impact I can potentially make. After sitting in bus 2857, the bus Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on, I know change is possible but only with audacity and persistence. Specifically within my own project, I hope to contribute to a comprehensive summary of the vacant lots, rental housing, and economic development issues within Detroit, along with innovative solutions. I hope that this report provides an honest baseline of facts that sets the tough realities of the city. In this way, the city can distance itself from useless rumors and create conversations regarding potential solutions to these issues.