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Racializing Space: Housing and Inequality in Detroit, 1930-2020

Research Team: Joshua Akers, Robert Fishman, Larissa Larsen

UM-PDC: Jacob Comerci, Fangtian Ni, Bangyu Xu, Ranya Betts-Chen, Tessa Broek, Ling Jin

Detroit Historical Society: Tracy Irwin, Billy Wall-Winkel

Racializing Space is a historical analysis of structural racism as it relates to housing in Detroit and southeast Michigan.

This project builds on recent literature emphasizing racial segregation in housing as a major barrier to black household wealth accumulation (Taylor 2019, Trounstine 2018, Rothstein 2017). We apply three overlapping concepts to examine this transformation in a systemic and structural way. One is Joshua Akers’ (Decline Industry: The Market Production of Detroit, 2013) concept of the production of decline which argues for the holistic examination of the practices, policies, and profits that emerge from and perpetuate chronic decline. The second is from the work of Keeaga-Yamahtta Taylor (Race for Profit, 2019) examining historical racial inequities in real estate through the concepts of predatory inclusion and predatory exclusion. The third utilizes Jessica Trounstine’s (Segregation by Design, 2018) work on segregation by design through local politics and policies.

Plan Your Future
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning