Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry interviews University of Pennsylvania professor Tom Sugrue about Detroit’s troubles. Sugrue wrote a study of the city 10 years ago called â€œThe Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit.â€ (read an excerpt from Princeton University Press)
Sugrue addresses some myths (Detroit’s problems are due to the riots) and also talks about the pattern of spending on high-visibility projects (sports stadium, corporate headquarters, etc.). He calls this “trickle-down urbanism” and says that while it might make suburbanites more comfortable spending their money downtown, it doesn’t have a big impact on the overall health of the city. He does look to some assets the city has a great deal of open land, allowing for the creation of large parcels which might be appealing to large-scale developers.
Jack follows up with an essay that (predictably) calls for addressing the serious problems the city has rather than blaming the people who were unable to escape the city.