For one thing, Ford’s purchase of the Michigan Central Station will hike up real estate prices for the buildings and areas in its surrounding neighborhood, Corktown. Gentrification is something that can be found in almost any city, and I have most definitely seen it in Durham. Businesses and companies revamp and invest in parts of town, which is very helpful to middle-class families but can often push out low-income families that can no longer afford to live in that area that was once their home. While the conditions they were living in may not have been the best, and the business is in some ways helping to improve the overall outlook for the city, the people of the lowest socioeconomic status are often unintentionally hurt the most.
When Detroit declared bankruptcy, it was the rich business professionals’ investments in the city, especially downtown, that got it up and running again, which was extremely important to Detroit’s rebuilding because the city itself couldn’t afford to do so. Uberti explains how this wasn’t as much of a problem for Detroit residents because there weren’t many of them living downtown in the first place. Now, however, as businesses expand and invest in other neighborhoods of Detroit, like Corktown, more Detroit residents will be affected and quite possibly forced to move out.
The worst part of it all is that the one of the biggest reasons Detroit experienced the downfall that it did in the first place was because all of the rich, professional businessmen and businesswomen started moving out of Detroit and into the suburbs. Because Detroit hit such a low, these very same people were able to invest and make use of the low prices an investment in the city would require. But now these investments are resulting in the people who stayed in Detroit the whole time to be affected. They continued to live in the city, but now may no longer be able to afford to do so or have a place untouched by the big businesses to do so.
What is my opinion on all of this? I think I am still trying to figure all that out, but if one thing is for sure it is that I have noticed this to be a central theme that every Detroiter struggles with. While I think there is much to be appreciated about big businesses attempting to rebuild the city by bringing in investments, money, and work, I think the consequences these decisions have for Detroiters, especially those that are low-income and couldn’t afford to leave Detroit when everyone else was, need to be evaluated more thoroughly. Are there ways to simultaneously promote growth and business while also supporting those of a low socioeconomic status and making sure they can continue to live where they have been for years? Development is wonderful and exactly what Detroit needs to see, but protecting those who could be negatively affected by this development is also important and something that needs to be taken into consideration. I don’t think I know what the right answer is, but as I have been in Detroit longer and longer and heard more opinions on this issue I think I am discovering the nuances associated with this issue.
I think this is why this article struck me. Time and time again I speak with people from Detroit who mention how and in what ways Detroit is on the up and coming, but how in many ways this positive growth is very concentrated among the wealthiest or those living in the suburbs and not Detroiters themselves. When the news about Ford buying the train station first came out it was huge and hard to avoid—another reason I was attracted to this article. When I first heard about it, I was fascinated and excited to learn more about what this would do to help the city. But I think at first glance it’s easy to hear news like this and get excited or only think about the good that can come from it. Once you look a little further into it, though, I think you realize the issue is a lot more complicated than you think. A lot of people are being affected in both positive and negative ways and what is the best course of action can be super unclear. I hope some path can be taken that helps everyone, but what will actually play out we can only guess.
Read the article here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/problem-with-rebuilding-detroit-michigan-ford-gentrification-cities_us_5ae31cffe4b02baed1b991c9