Evolution Of Neighbourhoods Essay

2402 words - 10 pages

Shrinking occurs with a reduction in population, producing an increase vacancy and neglect, a predominantly minority population, a reduction in institutional or municipal services available, and a fear of crime. This is the current phase of Detroit's neighbourhood lifecycle. Vacant buildings in the city include houses, retail outlets, commercial buildings, schools and industrial facilities (Eisinger, 2013). Approximately half of the city's parks are closed, half of the streetlights are dark, and the public transportation system is unreliable (Eisinger, 2013). Little remains to attract people to Detroit, and little exists to persuade people to stay, other than a financial inability to relocate. Gentrification or rejuvenation through redevelopment results after dilapidation, abandonment of structures, the appearance of squatters, rampant crime and arson (Hoalst-Pullen, Patterson & Gatrell, 2011). Currently, there seems to little hope of Detroit entering into a phase of gentrification.

Globalization, NAFTA, and the global economic downturn of 2008 nearly bankrupt the American automotive industry and nowhere was this felt as significantly as Detroit, the centre of the automotive industry. With the loss of jobs, came a significant loss of Detroit's population, and a high rate of unemployment. Some measures of prosperity indicate the level of economic turbulence in Detroit; in 2000 the per-capita personal income stood 14% above the national average, but by 2007 it has slipped to only 1% above the national average (Harpel, 2011). Interestingly, the income in the outer suburbs of Detroit was 16% above the national average in 2007, while in the inner city; the per-capita income was 18% below the national average (Harpel, 2011). Detroit was at or near the top of unemployment, poverty per capita, and infant mortality, in the 1980’s, while at this time neighbouring communities, such as Oakland County and Grosse Pointe Shores had very high income per capita (Thompson, 1999). In the central business district of the city the housing was cheaper, and as a result the neighborhoods were often seen as less desirable. Over the period 2000-2008, Detroit experienced the loss of over 156,000 manufacturing jobs, which translates to a 40% reduction in the manufacturing sector, and in the first decade of the 21st century, the automotive sector had shed 216,000 jobs (Harpel, 2011). In 2009, Detroit’s unemployment was approximately 22% (Hoalst-Pullen, Patterson & Gatrell, 2011). Because of this, areas of the city that were once middle class deteriorated and became run down. The lack of money in the city resulted in a large spatial variation between the rich and the poor, which was seen to tie in with the racial communities which became more segregated in the cities. In Detroit, in 1990, 79% of the city was Black, and 79% of the surrounding suburbs was White (Goodspeed, n.d.). Affluence fled to the suburbs, while the sparsely populated city centre...

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