Can hipsters save Detroit? Probably not, Sugrue says
Thomas Sugrue, the Detroit-born scholar and urban theorist who wrote the book The Origins of the Urban Crisis, argues that while hipsters help some areas of the city, it really has no effect on the areas that have been overlooked. For example, opening a vegan dog salon in Midtown may benefit Midtown but it does not benefit the Littlefield neighborhood. Sugrue calls this phenomenon “trickle-down urbanism,” and he says does not work because of the limited range. Detroit remains the most segregated city in the country, which terribly impedes the recovery of neighborhoods that desperately need it. To put it bluntly, longtime residents who are living under the poverty line feel disrespected and the younger generation moving in feel unwelcome in certain neighborhoods.
Although the list of the city’s issues continues to lengthen, overhauling the Detroit Public School system and creating jobs for low income residents are some of the points that Sugrue suggests will help the city as a whole. These things are often overlooked by new residents who have yet to learn how the city operates. Also, Detroit is 83% black, which is why it is integral to focus on improving the wellbeing of working class African Americans. “The signs of a city’s success are people sitting in outdoor cafes. It’s beautifully landscaped streets. It’s new high rises going up. It’s restaurants,” claims Sugrue. Now the issue arises of spreading those efforts to surrounding areas that are struggling. Residents should be proud that Detroit is a cultural location, but you cannot revive a city with hipsters alone.