Week 3: How To Kill A City – The Arena – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 3: How To Kill A City – The Arena

First, I want to say that reading How to Kill a City was quite interesting as we saw the perspectives of the gentrifiers. Something that particularly stood out to me was when the author had mentioned Mike Ilitch and the construction of the so-called Red Wings Arena in the 7.2 area. This is actually something that I have seen become complete. The high school that I attended (a predominantly black high school at the center of downtown) was directly inside the 7.2 area, and the Red Wings Arena (officially called the Little Caesars Arena) was being constructed just two blocks away.

In reading the book, it made the things I had seen make sense. Freshman year, my high school used to have its own lot for the students to park, but upon the completion of the Arena, they bought up the space and forced the school to use an empty field for parking until a new parking structure could be built (which wasn’t complete until senior year). It was also really astonishing to read when the author stated, “The money the city spends on the deal would have otherwise gone to fund Michigan schools,” in contrast to how excited the school was in how the Ilitch Foundation offered select internships solely for the students of the school. It also made sense of how the corner store in between the Arena and the school (a hot spot for the students) became a more lavish store that I highly doubt teenagers would be able to afford every day. All in all, reading the book cleared up what I had seen in the construction of the Little Caesars Arena, as well as the slow changes that I have seen happen across Detroit as I grew up. I’m sure that when I walk around Detroit now, I am more aware of what’s truly going on now more than ever.

3 thoughts on “Week 3: How To Kill A City – The Arena”

  1. Edisa Niyifasha

    Hi Dahika,

    I definitely also see what the author was saying because ever since I started working with my site (Detroit Public Schools), I have noticed how unkept the schools are. The schools look run-down, old, and not even well-taken care of. I see how the city has not really invested in the kid’s education by rebuilding the space that they have to be in every day to better provide a healthy learning environment. Instead of investing in Arenas and other unnecessary buildings, the State should focus on investing in their future (the children).

    -Edisa 🙂

  2. It’s so interesting to hear about your first-hand experience seeing the construction of the arena happen, and to read about the smaller things you noticed too, like how the corner store near your school changed.

    I honestly did not know that it was a thing for cities to subsidize development and give so much money for developers to come to their city until I started working at my site this summer. I had no idea that this was such a common practice, maybe because I’ve always associated huge development projects with subsequent harm to the people who live in the area. Reading about how the money that went to the developers would have gone to fund schools but how some internships were offered to students seems like a twisted and non-sensical deal to me as an outsider.

  3. It’s fascinating to me that your school specifically was given scholarships by the Ilitch Foundation after the stadium was built, especially since public school funding was cut in order to fund that stadium. I feel like it’s something we see over and over again, not just in Detroit but all over the world – the wealthy and powerful creating small incentives to get the average person excited about projects that will, in the long run, harm the locals far more than they help.

Comments are closed.

lsa logoum logo