As the City of Detroit redevelops after bankruptcy, some fear the revitalization efforts will push out low-income and minority residents. However, a new report released today by the Detroit Corridor Initiative outlines key elements for how the city can successfully implement an inclusive growth strategy that grows the economy while protecting current and future residents.
"Research shows that such neighborhoods can increase economic opportunity and mobility for all residents — particularly those with low and moderate incomes," says Bradford Frost, director of the Detroit Corridor Initiative and one of the report's co-authors. "Yet few policies in Detroit address this shared knowledge in a way that recognizes the unique characteristics, strengths, and trajectories of Detroit's diverse neighborhoods."
Frost says the report details on how to implement wide-ranging growth by securing long-term financing tools that preserve affordable housing and engage community leaders in discussions for the city’s progress. He says the city needs to collect more market data and review available and required real estate capital sources.
He says associations, philanthropists, and governments at the local, state, and federal level can drive investments to achieve strategic density targets in Detroit’s mixed-use corridor areas, collaborate with community financial institutions, ensure there’s enough high-quality, low-income housing in the neighborhoods, and develop policies and development practices aimed at reducing concentrated poverty.
Additionally, Frost says two high-opportunity Detroit corridor areas include Grand River/Southfield (a subset of the Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhoods) and the Avenue of Fashion/Palmer Woods. These areas have higher median household incomes and education levels than most other corridor areas. Yet, they continue to lose population (particularly middle-income households) and struggle to maintain healthy commercial centers.
The report says from 2000 to 2013, the percentage of households earning $25,000 or less per year in both Midtown and Corktown decreased, yet there was an increase in the same group in the University of Detroit Mercy/Marygrove and Grand River/Southfield corridor areas. He says both Corktown and Midtown saw a population increase of middle- and higher-income residents while lower-income residents possibly moved out of those neighborhoods.
The Detroit Corridor Initiative is an initiative from Capital Impact Partners, a nonprofit community development financial institution that delivers financing to projects and programs that benefit low-to-moderate-income individuals.