Week 3 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 3

Through my partnership, home base is currently the MSU Detroit Center on Woodward, but our ongoing site is located on the westside in Riverdale, which is down the street from Brightmoor. The area surrounding the site is pretty quiet. Not because the people are quiet, but because there are few people to make any noise.

Heading down one street, you would encounter two blocks of vacant homes. One house on a street by the site had been demolished about a month before we began working, and there’s already white clover covering the entire lot. Another house on the corner had just been demolished yesterday. When we arrived at the site, they had already taken the house and was moving the remains into a truck. By the time we left, the workers were gone.

In this neighborhood, however, there’s a woman by the name of Diane Hanks who has lived there for I don’t remember how long. She’s very active with the MSU Extension, serving on the council responsible for connecting MSU to the community. She lets Naim and I leave tools in her shed and asks for updates every time we stop by.

Here downtown there are so many signs on new luxurious apartments being built or a coming soon sign advertising office space.

It’s all so normal now for it to be the way it is. But I wonder if there will ever be an actual neighborhood and community where people know each other.

What made my week:

Naim had me take “action shots” to display all the work we did. First, we had already finished our task. Secondly the wheelbarrow had the tools in it as I was taking it out of the plots.

But, the house behind me is actually a math and reading tutoring center. I had never really noticed it to be anything but a house. The strange thing was that Naim knew the people who I guess lived there, but there we always kids playing in the backyard. I never tried putting the pieces together. We went inside for some water once and I was amazed to see a lot of kids inside who I didn’t ever notice arrive or leave any other day we were at the site.

This picture will remind me that there’s a lot going on in communities that aren’t clear by just appearances. And I’ll be reminded how goofy Naim is.

Tomorrow is Friday 🙂


2 thoughts on “Week 3”

  1. That’s cool that about the math and reading center! Also Naim sounds like a fun person to work with.

  2. Madison Fetterman

    One woman in my community placement was explaining to someone that her children couldn’t even ride their bikes on the sidewalk because the grass was so overgrown. I wonder too if some of the vacant neighborhoods can be restored in a manner that is considerate of those already living there and not these outlandishly expensive apartments.

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