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Neighborhoods

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

With award-winning restaurants and lofts going for half-a-million dollars, Detroit's midtown and downtown areas are hot right now. But the view is different out in the neighborhoods.

neighborhood
symmetry_mind / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Neighborhoods. It's a topic that has come up time and time again here at State of Opportunity. That's because where people live has a lot to do with who they become.

Nadia at the book club at the Brightmoor Artisans Community building
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

In part one of our State of Opportunity documentary, We Live Here, we spent time in Littlefield — a Detroit neighborhood right on the edge. It’s trying for a comeback, but so much depends upon whether the elementary school there stays open. 

Now let’s visit a neighborhood that’s past that point. A place where most of the DPS schools are long gone - abandoned, torn down or replaced by charters.

Noble Elementary-Middle School
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

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Over the last 15 years, cities across the country have faced wave after wave of school closures. Places like Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia closed down dozens of buildings at a time. 

But the district that closed the most schools during that time was Detroit Public Schools

Tony Webster / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gun violence can have a devastating impact on both individuals and society as a whole.

Trauma from gun injuries and homicides imposes heavy social and psychological burdens, and gun violence costs American taxpayers about $229 billion every year, according to Mother Jones.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

When a neighborhood's got a problem, sometimes all it takes is a few people coming up with solutions over drinks.

About a year and a half ago, a group of Hamtramck neighbors decided they were fed up with the horrible road conditions in their town.

They got together, bought some cold patch and started filling potholes.

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

Neighbors helping neighbors. That’s the motto of ShareCare of Leelanau County.

Since 1994, ShareCare has been helping seniors stay in their homes. It’s truly a win-win proposition.

Seniors in Leelanau get the support and help they need to live independently, at home. And volunteers get the reward of knowing they’re helping their neighbors.

“I think that now, and not just now but maybe for the last decade or so people are starting to appreciate the value of knowing your neighbors," Morenoff said.
flickr user woodleywonderworks / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

What’s the most important thing to consider when you’re choosing a neighborhood?

You real estate agent would probably tell you: location, location, location.

But what makes one neighborhood different from another a few blocks over?

One key factor is the relationships between the people living there. In other words: neighbors, neighbors, neighbors.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Highland Park, Michigan was the birthplace of the automotive moving assembly line. The Highland Park Ford Plant produced the Model T, the world's first affordable car.

But the small town embedded within Detroit has since fallen on hard times.

Affordable housing under construction
Mark Hogan / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

For every 100 extremely low-income households in the U.S., there are only 29 adequate, affordable, and available rental units, according to The Urban Institute.

So you would think with such high demand the solution would be simple. Just build more low-income housing, right?

Well, it turns out building affordable housing is not so affordable.

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