Why Detroit Matters

Decline, Renewal and Hope in a Divided City

Edited by Brian Doucet

Why Detroit Matters

Edited by Brian Doucet

Distributed for Bristol University Press

304 pages | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Paper $45.95 ISBN: 9781447327875 Published May 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $120.00 ISBN: 9781447327868 Published June 2017 For sale in North and South America only
The decline of Motor City, USA, may simply seem to be symptomatic of the decline of industrial cities across the world. But as this book shows us, what happens in Detroit matters for other cities globally—and always has. Why Detroit Matters bridges the academic and nonacademic worlds to examine how the story of Detroit offers powerful and universally applicable lessons on urban decline, planning, urban development, race relations, revitalization, and governance.

Reflecting the diversity of the city, Why Detroit Matters includes contributions both from leading scholars and some of the city’s most influential writers, planners, artists, and activists—including author George Galster, activist and author Grace Lee Boggs, author John Gallagher, and artist Tyree Guyton—who have all contributed chapters drawing on their rich experience and ideas. Also featuring edited transcripts of interviews with prominent visionaries who are developing innovative solutions to the challenges in Detroit, this book will be of keen interest to urban scholars and students in a variety of disciplines—from geography to economics, sociology, and urban and planning studies—as well as practitioners, including urban and regional planners, urban designers, community activists, and politicians and policy makers. Detroit, this book makes clear, could be a model of renewal and hope for the many cities suffering from similar problems, both in America and beyond.
List of contributors
List of figures and tables

one                        Introduction: why Detroit matters
                                Brian Doucet

Section One: Lessons from Detroit
two                        Detroit’s bankruptcy: treating the symptom, not the cause
                                George Galster
three                     Detroit in bankruptcy: what are the lessons to be learned?
                                Reynolds Farley
four                       Between economic revival and social disruption: the redevelopment of Greater Downtown and the emergence of new socio-spatial inequalities
                                René Kreichauf
five                        A new urban medicine show: on the limits of blight remediation
                                Joshua Akers
six                           Reshaping the gray spaces: resident self-provisioning and urban form in Detroit
                                Kimberley Kinder
seven                    Preserving Detroit by preserving its baseball history
                                Jason Roche
eight                      This is (not) Detroit: projecting the future of Germany’s Ruhr region
                                Julia Sattler
                                Intermezzo I: You may not know my Detroit
                                jessica Care moore

Section Two: Practices from Detroit
nine                       Evolution of municipal government in Detroit
                                John Gallagher
ten                         Detroit’s emerging innovation in urban infrastructure: how liabilities become assets for energy, water, industry, and informatics
                                Dan Kinkead
eleven                  Visions in conflict: a city of possibilities
                                Sharon Howell and Richard Feldman
twelve                  Reconstructing Detroit: the resilient city
                                Khalil Ligon
thirteen               Reawakening culture among Detroit’s resident majority
                                Jessica Brooke Williams
fourteen              Make sure you are helping: experts, solidarity, and effective partnering with locals
                                Drew Philp
fifteen                  New Strategies DMC, takin’ it all back home: lessons from Detroit for arts  practices in the Netherlands
                                Friso Wiersum, Bart Witte, and Nikos Doulos
                                Intermezzo II: My Detroit
                                Tyree Guyton

Section Three: Conversations from Detroit
sixteen                 Lowell Boileau
                                Artist and founder of DetroitYES
seventeen          Sandra Hines
                                Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality
eighteen              Malik Yakini
                                Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
nineteen             Dan Carmody
                                Eastern Market Corporation
twenty                 Jackie Victor
                                Avalon International Breads
twenty-one        Phil Cooley
                                Entrepreneur, owner of Slows Bar-B-Q and Ponyride
twenty-two        Wayne Curtis and Myrtle Thompson-Curtis
                                Feedom Freedom Farmers
twenty-three    Julia Putnam, Amanda Rosman, and Marisol Teachworth
                                The James and Grace Lee Boggs School
twenty-four       Yusef Bunchy Shakur
                                Author and neighbourhood organizer
twenty-five        Grace Lee Boggs
                                Activist (1915–2015)

twenty-six          Conclusion: Detroit and the future of the city
                                Brian Doucet

Review Quotes
John McCarthy, Associate Professor, School of the Built Environment, Heriot Watt University, UK
"This is an important and unique book in the context of the future of cities globally. In considering Detroit as a symbol of aspects of post-industrial decline and regeneration, it gives voice to a range of normally excluded voices and narratives. It therefore provides a valuably rounded set of perspectives and visions which, together, help the reader to understand the forces that have shaped the city, and wider lessons for creating more inclusive cities."
J. F. Bauman, University of Southern Maine | Choice
"Encompassing a wide range of views from academics (European and US) as well as neighborhood activists and artists, the book could excite lively discussions in urban studies and urban planning classes. The contributors explore the role of race, class, and post-industrialism in Detroit’s devolution and critique neoliberal policy by juxtaposing disinvestment in city neighborhoods against Quicken Loans–spurred downtown revival."
Journal of Urban Affairs
“This is a most welcome addition to the growing body of literature that not only is bringing long overdue attention to Detroit but also seeks to provide much needed nuance and complexity to Manichean debates. Doucet challenges readers to dissect the conscious choices that led Detroit into and out of bankruptcy rather than accept what transpired as inevitable.”
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