Now that I have your attention, allow me to clarify that this is not a post about me having it out for the fall of Detroit because corporations are doing that without my help. In the book, How to Kill a City, the author informs the readers of his theories about gentrification and its effects on cities like San Francisco, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago and New York. The cohort was assigned this book before we started our internships in Detroit, and I am thankful that we read it when we did. It gave me a different outlook on the remodeling of Downtown Detroit and also the already “revitalized” metropolitans.
Before moving to Midtown, I didn’t really see the changes that were being made downtown, but when I got there it was quite obvious. During our first week in the program, we all went on the underground railroad tour and I saw some of the places that were mentioned in the book. It was a surreal feeling because although their intention, some of them, maybe to bring new products and services, their impact is one that can be seen as harmful. Bash and I were discussing this yesterday about how instead of prematurely growing the corporate monopoly. I feel when they do this they are neglecting the market of Detroiters, but that brings me to the point that they neglect this market way before the remodeling from the draining of resources from the neighborhoods.
In conclusion, from reading this book and hearing about the effects from community members I have learned that in order to fix what has been broken, we need to stop putting band-aids on an infected wound and actually clean it so it can heal. Cities are killed not solely by gentrification, but by the mistreatment and discrimination against marginalized populations through the lack of resources, shortage of employment opportunities, and poor education just to name a few. Heal the wound instead of covering it and the city may live.