Urban Affairs

In-depth reporting on Michigan's largest city and surrounding communities, including deep dives into the big changes afoot in Detroit, its schools, neighborhoods, institutions and city hall.

Articles

Hit hard by coronavirus, Detroit gets creative to boost census counts

Hit hard by coronavirus, Detroit gets creative to boost census counts

April 29, 2020 | Alexandra Schmidt

Detroit had marshaled huge resources to boost census participation. Then came COVID-19. Now, as cases decline, the city is trying to play catchup because millions of dollars are at stake from an accurate count.

Faith and hope as antidotes to coronavirus tragedy in Detroit (BridgeDetroit podcast)

Faith and hope as antidotes to coronavirus tragedy in Detroit (BridgeDetroit podcast)

April 24, 2020 | Bridge Staff

Authentically Detroit is a BridgeDetroit partner podcast that tells the stories of Detroiters’ lives through exposition and interview. 

In Detroit, a funeral moves outside as coronavirus deaths mount

In Detroit, a funeral moves outside as coronavirus deaths mount

April 18, 2020 | Joel Kurth

An open-casket funeral outside is a small step toward closure and rethinking funerals at a time traditional spaces are forbidden, says the pastor of Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit.

Detroit food banks overrun by coronavirus demand

Detroit food banks overrun by coronavirus demand

April 15, 2020 | Louis Aguilar

Despite adding capacity, food banks throughout Michigan are running out of food, crushed by the hunger created by the pandemic’s economic strain.

On Easter weekend, Detroit churches mourn the COVID-19 dead from afar

On Easter weekend, Detroit churches mourn the COVID-19 dead from afar

April 11, 2020 | Martina Guzmán

In a city devastated by the coronavirus, there will be no eucharist and no fellowship this Easter. But churches say they are persevering  and adjusting how they tend to mourning congregations.

‘We need help’: Coronavirus ‘devastating’ black cities in outstate Michigan

‘We need help’: Coronavirus ‘devastating’ black cities in outstate Michigan

April 9, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Mike Wilkinson, Louis Aguilar

Racial disparities that struck southeast Michigan are repeating in Flint, Saginaw, Lansing and Ypsilanti, highlighting inequities in health care.  And even as Detroit cases ebb, the mourning is just beginning: ‘I just feel numb,’ one says.

Coronavirus forces Michigan soup kitchens to feed hungry from a distance

Coronavirus forces Michigan soup kitchens to feed hungry from a distance

March 31, 2020 | Martina Guzmán

The same government orders that closed restaurants also forced soup kitchens to take their missions outside. In Detroit, volunteers pack paper bag lunches and feed the needy from parking lots.

As coronavirus bears down, Detroit enters a grim new phase

As coronavirus bears down, Detroit enters a grim new phase

March 30, 2020 | Kelly House, Robin Erb, Riley Beggin, Louis Aguilar, Mike Wilkinson

In metro Detroit, the epicenter of Michigan’s outbreak, the pandemic is spreading rapidly as hospitals, government leaders and residents deal with medical shortages and some painful goodbyes.

In battle-tested Detroit, neighbors help each other as coronavirus spreads

In battle-tested Detroit, neighbors help each other as coronavirus spreads

March 29, 2020 | Sarah Alvarez, Anna Clark

Detroit and the rest of Wayne County comprise nearly half of Michigan’s coronavirus cases, forcing residents to summon resilience forged through decades of crisis.

In life, he hosted Detroit’s grand funerals. COVID-19 makes his own uncertain

In life, he hosted Detroit’s grand funerals. COVID-19 makes his own uncertain

March 28, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

O’Neil Swanson was the man to call for decades for stately funerals in Detroit. But his own death shows how grieving has changed in the age of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus makes even finding water to help the needy a struggle in Detroit

Coronavirus makes even finding water to help the needy a struggle in Detroit

March 26, 2020 | Martina Guzmán

Hoarding has made bottled water a scarce commodity in Michigan, complicating efforts to deliver the bare essentials to thousands of Detroit residents.

White House worried about rapid spike in Detroit coronavirus cases

White House worried about rapid spike in Detroit coronavirus cases

March 26, 2020 | Louis Aguilar, Mike Wilkinson, Riley Beggin

The White House weighs in as Detroit reels from a spike in cases. The virus has struck a civil rights leader, state lawmaker and police officials, and health experts warn this is the beginning: ‘The people of the state are in serious risk,’ Mayor Duggan says.

A look back at our most impactful Detroit stories of 2019

A look back at our most impactful Detroit stories of 2019

December 30, 2019 | Bridge Staff

Gentrification, evicting artists, and white mortgages in a majority black city. As 2019 winds down, take a look back at Bridge's most impactful Detroit stories of the year. 

As Detroit students settle into their first semester of college, ‘bridge’ programs provide needed support

As Detroit students settle into their first semester of college, ‘bridge’ programs provide needed support

November 19, 2019 | Lori Higgins, Chalkbeat Detroit

She’s scheduled office visits with her professor. She’s asked the teaching assistants for help. She’s dropped into the math learning centers. But still, despite excelling in her other classes, Marqell McClendon has struggled.

In the age of Uber, will metro Detroit shell out billions for buses?

In the age of Uber, will metro Detroit shell out billions for buses?

November 14, 2019 | Michael Jackman

New technology is revolutionizing transit options. Will they complement mass transit or threaten it? That’s a question that could undergird an upcoming vote on a mass transportation tax.

How a tax break to help the poor went to NBA owner Dan Gilbert

How a tax break to help the poor went to NBA owner Dan Gilbert

October 25, 2019 | Jeff Ernsthausen, Justin Elliott

After a lobbying effort, Dan Gilbert, billionaire founder of Quicken Loans, won special tax status for wealthy areas of downtown Detroit where he owns billions worth of property.

Can Detroit businesses survive city’s push for walkable neighborhoods?

Can Detroit businesses survive city’s push for walkable neighborhoods?

October 17, 2019 | Darren A. Nichols

Mayor Mike Duggan wants to make seven neighborhoods more walkable. But the first project, along the Avenue of Fashion, is months behind schedule and businesses are closing.

In a changing Detroit, footpaths are vanishing across vast, empty lands

In a changing Detroit, footpaths are vanishing across vast, empty lands

October 4, 2019 | Joel Kurth

The University of Michigan has mapped 5,200 footpaths through Detroit. The author of the study says it’s a valuable planning tool. But one critic calls it ‘poverty porn.’

Wayne County’s tired jail deputies work double shifts at low pay. Wanna apply?

Wayne County’s tired jail deputies work double shifts at low pay. Wanna apply?

September 24, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Michigan’s largest county is perpetually short of officers to guard jail inmates that critics contend shouldn’t be incarcerated in the first place. ‘It’s a screwed up system,’ a sheriff’s official admits.

Detroit Police opt for safety over privacy, as facial recognition approved

Detroit Police opt for safety over privacy, as facial recognition approved

September 20, 2019 | Kyla Smith

After months of controversy, a police oversight board approves the use of facial recognition technology in Detroit, as some other cities nationwide prohibit it over accuracy and privacy concerns.

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