The nagging theme of “A Tale of Two Cities” in places like Detroit continues to remind us of the stark contrast between the haves and have-nots, and that the much-hyped comeback involves very limited areas. Poverty and joblessness are pervasive.
John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press writes:
Even as thousands of tech-savvy millennials flock to a few pockets in and around downtown Detroit, data show that poverty is increasing and incomes collapsing in many outlying urban neighborhoods.
This contrast between what many people think is the problem — a rapidly gentrifying city — and the underlying reality of widespread urban poverty forms the core of an important new book called “The Divided City” by Alan Mallach (Island Press, 344 pages, $30).
Mallach, one of America’s best-known urban gurus, has studied Detroit for many years and still consults with the city on urban policy. His book issues a stark warning that the recent revitalization of the greater downtown of so many cities like Detroit not only hasn’t spread to the outlying neighborhoods but may never do so.
It’s a reminder not to get too giddy about all the comeback talk, and that far too many people are being left out.
— Allan Lengel