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