By Carly Duncan
Detroit has recently become a city with a well-known negative reputation. When I told people that I would be going to Detroit, I received responses like “Why would you want to go there?” and “don’t get shot.” These are some of the common misconceptions surrounding Detroit, but throughout our three-week class we learned the facts to disprove a lot of the myths surrounding the city.
A common myth of Detroit is “if you go to Detroit you will get shot.” While it is based in the truth of Detroit’s high crime rates, it is exaggerated. The risk of being involved in a crime in Detroit depends on relations to drugs or gang activities. From our experience visiting in Detroit, it didn’t seem more dangerous than any other major city. Detroit has plenty of safe neighborhoods and places to go.
Another common misconception surrounding Detroit is that it’s a post-apocalyptic city, meaning that there’s nothing but abandoned and run-down buildings there. This is both untrue and offensive to the people who have been working hard to revitalize the city for years. We were able to see some of these efforts when we toured some of the buildings in downtown that are owned by Dan Gilbert. Dan Gilbert, the owner of Quicken Loans, bought many of the buildings in downtown Detroit in an effort to revitalize the area.
There are other efforts to revitalize the city as well. In an effort to make Detroit a family destination, there was a recent reconstruction of the river walk by the Rivard Plaza & Riverfront Conservancy. The Heidelberg project, which is an outdoor display of art original to Detroit, is another effort to revitalize.
During our two-week class and through our trip to Detroit, we learned a lot about these revitalization efforts, all of which are driven and supported by the residents of Detroit who care about the city and its reputation. Their commitment to the city was inspiring. When I decided to take this class I didn’t expect to learn about such a vibrant city, but despite all of the common misconceptions surrounding the city, we learned that Detroit is thriving.