This book addresses the questions of what went wrong with Detroit and what can be done to reinvent the Motor City. Various answers to the former—deindustrialization, white flight, and a disappearing tax base—are now well understood. Less discussed are potential paths forward, stemming from alternative explanations of Detroit's long-term decline and reconsideration of the challenges the city currently faces.
Urban crisis—socioeconomic, fiscal, and political—has seemingly narrowed the range of possible interventions. Growth-oriented redevelopment strategies have not reversed Detroit's decline, but in the wake of crisis, officials have increasingly funnelled limited public resources into the city's commercial core via an implicit policy of "urban triage." The crisis has also led to the emergency management of the city by extra-democratic entities. As a disruptive historical event, Detroit's crisis is a moment teeming with political possibilities.
The critical rethinking of Detroit's past, present, and future is essential reading for both urban studies scholars and the general public.
Introduction—Reinventing Detroit: Urban Decline and the
Politics of Possibility
Michael Peter Smith and L. Owen Kirkpatrick
Part I: Theoretical and Epistemological Frameworks
1 Rereading Detroit: Toward a Polanyian Methodology
L. Owen Kirkpatrick and Michael Peter Smith
2 The Spontaneous Sociology of Detroit's Hyper-Crisis
Mathieu Hikaru Desan and George Steinmetz
3 Learning from Detroit: How Research on a Declining City Enriches Urban Studies
Margaret Dewar, Matthew Weber, Eric Seymour, Meagan Elliott, and Patrick Cooper-McCann
Part II: How we Got Here: Cities, the State, and Markets
4 National Urban Policy and the Fate of Detroit
William K. Tabb
5 The Normalization of Market Fundamentalism in Detroit: The Case of Land Abandonment
Part III: W here we Are: Fiscal Crisis, Local Democracy, and Neoliberal Austerity
6 Detroit in Bankruptcy
7 Democracy vs. Efficiency in Detroit
8 Ritual and Redistribution in De-democratized Detroit
L. Owen Kirkpatrick
9 Framing Detroit
Part IV: Where we Are Going: Pitfalls and Possibilities
10 Detroit Prospects: Why Recovery is Elusive
11 A Community Wealth-Building Vision for Detroit—and Beyond
Gar Alperowitz and Steve Dubb
12 The Cooperative City: New Visions for Urban Futures
13 Which Way, "Detroit"?
About the Contributors