I have thus chosen the article titled “$32M Apartment Development Coming to Midtown” by Jennifer Chambers. This article discusses a new Midtown housing development that will bring 84 apartments—25 percent of which will be affordable units—to the Sugar Hill Historic District. If the sale of the land is approved by the City Council, the project will take off in September of this year. The main point of this article, however, is to highlight that regardless of how fast Midtown is growing, there will be room for everyone, which is the driver behind the mixed-income housing. The development will also attempt to preserve the rich history of the neighborhood, incorporating its art, jazz, and African-American history and influences into design and inclusive nature.
What struck me about this piece is the emphasis on the mixed-income, mixed-use aspects of the development, especially that “25% of the apartments will be set aside as affordable housing for those making between 50 to 80 percent of the area median income.” Development is a risky but necessary business. There is always profit to be made, but what I have learned from my dad is that putting profit above people does not end well, as it just rubs salt in the wounds of a city. In other cities, when development takes place, many people begin to slowly lose their spot in their communities. They find their favorite spots being replaced by brand-name retailers and housing units costing more than their monthly income. While on the surface these communities may appear transformed and enticing, when one looks deeper, one will be able to find many racial issues—as minorities are often the ones displaced by this “development”—and resentment towards the development.
The question persists: how does one “develop” properly? It is difficult if not impossible to revitalize a city without change, otherwise it would not be revitalization. However, one must be mindful when igniting such change. A city must cater to the needs of all inhabitants, both those who are current residents and those a city is hoping to attract. I do not have an answer of as to what is the right way to do so, but the efforts this article presents are effective ways to start. A mixed-income project supports this “catering to all inhabitants” concept and is a simple way for a city to maintain its present and incorporate the future.
While it is undoubtedly important to be aware as citizens in making sure development does not neglect nor inhibit certain members of the community, I also argue that we must not be so quick to assume the worst in all development projects, as well. It is hard to move forward without growth, but growth does not always come at the expense of others, as exhibited by this article.
Link to the article: www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2017/06/09/sugar-hill-development/102666808/