What City Observatory did this week
1. Why Detroit (and other cities) need more gentrification and congestion. Michigan Future’s Lou Glazer has a provocative essay arguing that Detroit and other struggling cities would actually benefit from more gentrification and congestion. In a word, both phenomena are indicators that there’s growing demand for urban space, and for struggling cities, its the lack of demand that underlies poverty and a range of other problems. While it seems counterintuitive to some, higher rents and more traffic are correlates of a robust economy. As Glazer argues:
What people don’t think about is that for both gentrification and congestion the positives far outweigh the negatives. The reason I continue to make the case that Detroit––really all Michigan cities––need more gentrification and congestion is both are signs of demand. People wanting to live and work there and business wanting to locate there. Successful communities (whether it is a neighborhood, community or region) are places with high demand. Places with low demand are some combination of declining and distressed.