Detroit is Back

by Brendan Byrne

Aug 11, 2016

Detroit, Michigan © Starharper | Dreamstime

Trends / Top Trends

Largely due to the decline of the automobile industry, Detroit became one of the United States’ poorest big cities. It filed the largest municipal bankruptcy cases in United States history in 2013, which, in 2014, it successfully exited.


Detroit became a figure of despair. Urban decay, poverty and high crime rates made it one of the least desirable cities in the United States. But that’s beginning to change. Detroit represents a ruggedness — a coolness perhaps equivalent to Brooklyn, N.Y., 15 years ago.


But is Detroit heading in the same direction? Poverty, unemployment and racial segregation quite naturally lead to high levels of crime. In 2013, it was noted 50 percent of children were living in poverty, whilst 50 percent of adults were illiterate. So how could Detroit possibly be on the rise again?


Billionaire Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans, the second largest mortgage provider in the United States, purchased more than 60 properties for about $1.4 billion to house more than 12,000 of his employees in the downtown area. In 2014, Detroit saw a massive decrease in homicides and general crime rates.


When General Motors filed for bankruptcy in 2009, it left 48 buildings vacant in the city center. Now, 31 of those are reoccupied and undergoing significant renovation. In 2016, an estimated 22,000 additional jobs are anticipated.


It is still early, but things are certainly looking good for the future of Detroit. Hopefully Gilbert’s vision is inclusive of those in need who have survived Detroit’s fall from grace.


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