A recent study by Global Detroit, a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening the region through immigrant inclusion, shows how newly arriving people can present great opportunities for revitalization in areas of cities that may have been divested of their potential success.
The study, “Building Inclusive Cities: Immigration and Neighborhood Change in Detroit,” focuses on the outcomes and benefits of the rapid immigration into Banglatown/East Davison Village and Chadsey Condon in Detroit over a span of two years.
“Detroit is an official Welcoming City because Detroiters recognize the importance of helping immigrant families and business owners continue to put down roots in our city,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “There is strength in diversity, and this study makes it clear the tremendous positive impact immigrants make strengthening our neighborhoods and our city.”
The study presents the various benefits that immigration can provide areas like Banglatown/East Davison Village and Chadsey Condon and even other post-industrial cities outside of Detroit. The study also provides reasons why immigrants may choose to come to these areas and how/what resources and strategies allow them to thrive.
In Banglatown/East Davison Village and Chadsey Condon Global Detroit found that the attraction to these areas compared to the city was the many “quality of life” indicators, both current and potential. Some of these indicators include residential stability, housing market activity, public safety, and more.
Also, with Global Detroit’s 10 years of experience of working in the city and past research studies, they were able to successfully record the information of 250 current residents, business owners, community leaders, and more people of different titles from the areas to produce a study that listed and even more thorough list of reasons for how immigrants can rebuild run down areas.
“Immigrants’ contributions to Detroit are immense. They have helped make our city one of the greatest in the world,” says Raquel Castañeda-López, Detroit City Council member. “Global Detroit’s research clearly shows the tremendous value immigrants bring to Detroit at the neighborhood level. It is important to do all we can in local government to help immigrants establish strong networks within their neighborhoods and access the resources and opportunities to help them build wealth and thrive.”
Some of the findings made by Global Detroit include population growth in the area compared to population decline in the city, improvement in community protection and safety, decreased property tax and tax foreclosures, signs of real estate market vitality, significant business growth, and many more positive attributes that came about in these areas immigrants chose to come to.
Though, one of the key findings was that immigration into these areas needed to be promoted and encouraged by the city’s politicians and community leaders. Without the proper support and welcoming, as beneficial an area may be, there will never be proper attraction for immigrants to move. City decision-makers must be committed to creating a diverse multi-cultural network that will make their areas stronger and more successful than ever before.
“This study illustrates in clear terms that immigrant inclusion is a win-win proposition for Detroit and post-industrial cities across the U.S.,” says Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit’s executive director. “It is imperative that we create and revamp policies and programs across our city, state and nation to make them more accessible to our ever-growing numbers of immigrant neighbors.
“At the same time, it is important to continue to honor the many contributions the long-time, largely African American residents in Detroit and other legacy cities have made to their cities and neighborhoods. Our research demonstrates a need to strengthen bonds between newer immigrant and long-time residents in order to create neighborhoods that foster prosperity and well-being for all.”
“Building Inclusive Cities: Immigration and Neighborhood Change in Detroit” is available online at www.buildinginclusivecities.org. Global Detroit has shared the report with policymakers, community and economic development organizations, and immigrant inclusion organizations, locally and nationally, as well as with residents in the two neighborhoods studied.
To conduct this study, Global Detroit worked with Alan Mallach and Data Driven Detroit. Additional funding came from the Hudson-Webber Foundation in Detroit.