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Economy

How To Get Detroit Back On Its Feet

The city needs to attract new residents and retain the ones who already live there. Luckily, it has a few options.
A construction crew works on a new housing development along the riverfront in Detroit.
A construction crew works on a new housing development along the riverfront in Detroit.Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Is Detroit making a comeback, or not? The answer is somewhere in the middle.

The city’s downtown and midtown areas are speckled with new construction. New projects include luxury condos, university buildings, mansion-turned-apartments, tiny homes, micro-apartments, stadiums, and trendy work spaces that look like metallic igloos. But in other parts of the city, stubborn pockets of concentrated poverty remain; decades of population loss, racially biased housing policies, and disinvestment have made sure of that. That geographically uneven recovery is natural at this stage, as City Observatory’s Joe Cortright points out. Accruing a critical mass of residents in certain neighborhoods will help bring all-around recovery, he writes: