Next City: The real threat to Detroit's rebound



The national urban affairs blog at Next City has published an excellent piece by journalist Anna Clark taking aim at the real problem bedeviling Detroit's rebound. The 4,600-word piece doesn't focus on schools, crime, or blight so much as a problem that has caused inner-city neighborhoods to suffer over the decades: redlining.

But Clark points out the differences from old-fashioned redlining and today's variety:

Instead of an overtly racist and classist policy rendered with a boundary slashed across a map, it manifests as a cascading series of obstacles that become apparent to a prospective homeowner when he or she approaches a bank to take advantage of what seems at first to be a buyer’s market, open to anyone willing to invest in a rebounding city.

For those trying to buy homes in "the neighborhoods," the problems don't end with poor city services and crime; they include a cold shoulder from lending institutions for a multitude of reasons. This, in turn, diminishes a homeowner's capacity to borrow for needed improvements, further diminishing the quality of the an already troubled neighborhood.

That just scratches the surface of this article. While it's long-form, it's not tedious: Clark exhibits a knack for finding Detroiters who bring what could have been a wonkish policy piece to life. Take a look here.