How to kill a city – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

How to kill a city

Before I read How to Kill a City, I did know what to expect. I figured that it would be about gentrification. Although, I did not know the detail it would go into or how the author would break down the concept. Something that stood out to me was when the author said during the introduction that he was on both ends of gentrification. For me, this set the tone for the rest of the book. I never thought of myself possibly benefitting from this system that I am against. Another thing that stood out to me was the reference to culture. When black people are pushed out of their communities a sense of culture is lost. As I was reading this book, I spoke with someone who had a different perspective about gentrification. Their argument was that before businesses came into Detroit the city was on a decline as the crime rates were at a high. I made the point that cities disproportionately affected by institutional racism and oppression have high crime rates. I feel like a common argument about gentrification is “if you won’t make it better, someone will ” but this doesn’t take into account the deeply ingrained systems that won’t allow for the individuals who live in that community to make a greater change. This is why How to kill a city suggests a conspiracy. People advocate to improve Detroit neighborhoods but they forget to include the check to help with these efforts. The problem with gentrification is that it’s not focused on helping communities grow. Rather than pushing out minorities to make space for coffee shops and luxurious rent prices.

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