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The Detroit News Goes Looking For Gentrification, Trouble

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Detroit, the city that has spent decades saying "Oh no, all the residents moved away," is changing its complaint to "Oh no, all these new residents moved in." At least according to Kresge-Award winning writer Louis Aguilar's article in The Detroit News today. With the subtitle "Longtime residents feel they are getting pushed out by newcomers moving to the city" the article begins with a discussion of a documentary previously reviewed on this site (Well, we think. Aguilar fails to name it) and then goes on to discuss potential home buyers in Corktown, Midtown and Downtown getting out-bid by these newfangled cash-paying yuppies. Other signs of so-called gentrification in this article? The Broderick Tower renovation. Hey wasn't that built as luxury real estate in the first place?

So how long does it take for someone to fire back a response article? MLive got one up around noon entitled, "Complaints about Detroit gentrification once again rooted in feelings, not logic."

MLive points out that, yes, there is an influx of young, white residents but that the real problem here is that "the gentrification narrative in Detroit isn’t about displacement or quantifiable demographic change, it’s all about feelings.". Which is to say, people like to whine about change particularly when not getting what they want in real estate. The better point made is this: Poorly maintained buildings at bargain prices aren’t exactly the same thing as social justice.

Aguilar makes some valid points about the fact that only three neighborhoods get all the attention these days, but goes a bit too far trying to dig up trouble with a quote from soon-to-be chairman of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Rodney Lockwood. He says, "Think about the conversation so many institutions, neighborhoods, media are having about growth, culture and entertainment. That dialogue, that investment is about downtown, Corktown and Midtown... What many people don't realize is we have already begun the conversation that will lead us into splitting up Detroit into separate cities." The article ends with Toby Barlow "one of the poster boys for the rising Detroit" disagreeing.

We fail to see how covering buzz-worthy development severs ties with the rest of the city. And let's point out one more time, that if you see something we have missed (because 139 square miles is a shit-ton to cover), hit that damn Detroit tipline and we are on it.

· New challenges for Detroit [The Detroit News]
· Complaints about Detroit gentrification once again rooted in feelings, not logic [MLive]