Detroit – More than 40 percent of Detroiters say their neighborhoods have improved over the past two years, but they still have serious concerns about crime, gentrification, under performing schools and whether local officials are committed to an inclusive city revitalization effort.
Those were among the key findings of the first annual ARISE Detroit! State of the Neighborhoods Survey, drawn from its partner network of more than 400 block clubs, community associations, churches and businesses.
The nonprofit community mobilization group released the survey results November 2 at its 10th Annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Rising Summit.
“It seems to be a pretty balanced and critical look at what’s happening in the city right now,” said Luther Keith, ARISE Detroit! executive director. “Clearly, people are feeling good about some things, but are not satisfied with the progress, or what they perceive as a lack of commitment, in other areas.”
- IMPROVED NEIGHBORHOODS: 43 percent said their neighborhoods have improved over the past two years. Respondents said the improvement is based on an increase in new residents, new homeowners and new businesses.
- DECLINING NEIGHBORHOODS: 18 percent say their neighborhoods have gotten worse over the past two years. Blight and crime are cited as the main reasons for the deterioration.
- INCREASED NEIGHBORHOOD INVESTMENT: 74 percent said they have seen more investment in housing, businesses and restaurants in their own neighborhood or in other neighborhoods.
- GENTRIFICATION: 56 percent view gentrification as a problem in their neighborhoods; 32 percent do not.
- GENTRIFICATION IMPACT: 47 percent said gentrification has increased housing and rental costs; 20 percent said it has targeted amenities for new residents; 17 percent said it has changed city culture; 7 percent said it has increased shopping prices in the city.
- GREATEST BARRIERS TO REVITALIZATION: (Percentages based on multiple question responses); 54 percent, (tie) crime, underperforming schools, poverty; 52 percent, lack of economic opportunity; 27 percent, illiteracy.
- KEY TO ATTRACTING NEW RESIDENTS: 20 percent, reduced crime; 19 percent, (tie) reduced auto insurance, improved schools; 14 percent, increased economic opportunity; 4 percent, reduced property taxes.
- ECONOMIC INCLUSION: 70 percent said they do not believe the civic, corporate and foundation communities have gotten the message on the importance of inclusive neighborhood revitalization.
- COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: (Percentage of respondents involved in these areas); 77 percent, block clubs or community associations; 48 percent, volunteer programs; 30 percent, church programs; 28 percent, youth services.
- HOPE FOR DETROIT’S FUTURE: 88 percent said they are hopeful about the future of their neighborhoods and the City of Detroit.