Thursday, December 09, 2010

Archipelagos Of Gentrification

Repopulating all of Detroit is an impossible task. More practical is packing people into a few strategic spots, a bunch of small cities within city limits. Achieving that goal is another story:

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing wants to cluster city residents into about two-thirds of the city's current space and will give people incentives to move, he says.

No resident would be forced to move, but people should know that the seven to nine core neighborhoods, which the administration will identify by spring, will be the only parts of the city that have full city services, Bing told the Detroit Free Press.

The plan is to make key neighborhoods more attractive. Plenty of experts claim to know how to engineer migration, running the gamut from retention to talent attraction. The truth is that no one has a silver bullet. I'm not sure anyone has an idea worth a few dollars.

My guess is that Mayor Bing is omitting the part of the narrative that outlines the neighborhoods left for dead. There will be more push than pull concerning relocation. The areas of core investment will attract the most mobile, who tend to be the best educated. I expect many of them will come from outside the city. That's not all bad, unless you are stuck in part of town on the wrong side of the tracks.

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