For most of my life I have lived in the area surrounding Detroit, MI. While the generation before me left the city to live in the suburbs, many of my peers are moving back into the heart of the city. As young adults move into what some would consider a dangerous place, I wanted to talk to a friend of mine who is living in the city and witnessing its comeback.
Kevin is studying Economics and Public Administration at Wayne State University and lives in Detroit year-round. Like myself, he lived in the suburbs of Detroit throughout his childhood. He originally moved to the city for school and plans to stay after graduation. The following is an excerpt of my interview with him and the photos above are Kevin pictured outside his downtown residence.
Lauren: What is your favorite part about living in downtown Detroit?
Kevin: “I like having so many things close to me. Not just entertainment though…restaurants or friends…at least compared to where I grew up there is a lot more within walking distance.”
Lauren: Are their grocery stores near your residence?
Kevin: “ Ah, that is a major problem. It is definitely a food desert. There’s a Whole Foods on Woodward if I don’t get groceries when I’m visiting (my) mom (in the suburbs)… There is a couple smaller markets that are around, you can go to Eastern Market if you have the time. And actually, other corner stores and liquor stores really pick up the slack. So I buy my milk at Marcus Market, which is just down the street, and their main product is a liquor store… They’ve got bananas and you can buy yoghurt and bread. And what’s nice is the staples they offer at a reasonable price because they understand that the people in the area don’t have as easy access. But at the same time a box a of Pop-Tarts is like six dollars or something because it’s the markup that comes from a smaller store.”
Lauren: Were you ever nervous moving into the city?
Kevin: “ Not at all. Not just cause’ there’s so many people in the area it helps there’s always people around…also Wayne State Police has such a wide net that they patrol, I’d sleep on the ground. I’d be cold, but I’d be safe. So there’s no concern. I’ve never felt uncomfortable walking around after dark.”
Lauren: What is the reaction from the generation that moved out of Detroit, now that you are moving back in?
Kevin: “ So, everyone’s always nervous but I don’t think they understand that the crime isn’t evenly distributed across the city. We’re like one-hundred and thirty square miles and it’s (crime) is mostly concentrated in some very under invested areas…the areas near the university and even proper downtown are very safe. From a distance when you only see everything on the nightly news you don’t understand that it’s quite far away. (the older generation) Has a very engrained (negative) opinion about the city and until you spend enough time here that’s not going to break. I spent very little time in Detroit before I went to Wayne State and now that I’m here I don’t want to leave. ”