Contrary to popular opinion, New Urbanist developments in Detroit have
had a negative impact on the current population of the city.
Because Detroit is, in
many regards, unready for New Urbanism, recently completed developments
stray from the ideals of New Urbanism, and, as a result, have had a severe
negative financial and social effect on the city.
The failures of recent
developments such as Campus Martius Park and Woodbridge Estates highlight
“From 1970 to 2000, more than 160,000 dwellings left the Detroit housing
Yet, today, the downtown and midtown areas are seeing a rebirth.
Midtown alone saw a total of $1,576,450,000 in new construction investments
between 2001 and 2004.
Detroit, for the first time in decades, has outpaced its
suburbs in new housing projects.
While in 2005 the metro-Detroit region saw a
twenty percent decline in housing permits, the City of Detroit saw an eleven
percent rise in the number of housing permits it issued.
This dramatic shift in
popularity, according to the Detroit Free Press, has been sparked by the
combination of the declining number of suburban automotive industry jobs and
the rising popularity of the New Urbanist residential developments that have
begun to proliferate along Woodward Avenue in Detroit.
Yet these New Urbanist
developments, because they stray from the ideals of the New Urbanism idea,
and the resulting economic, social, and political shifts, have had a negative
impact on the residents of Detroit.
The Congress for the New Urbanism’s Charter proudly proclaims that:
“We [New Urbanists] stand for the restoration of existing urban centers… …real