A little-known database is trying to predict which blocks of Detroit are likely to rebound.
Known as “Turning the Corner,” the interactive map provides a street-level glimpse into changes unfolding on 9,444 city blocks and identifies which neighborhoods are most likely to see rising home values and rents that could force out longtime residents, said Noah Urban, a senior analyst for Data Driven Detroit, a company that developed the database.
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“The data helps identify areas that may be at higher risk of displacement if a transformational investment occurs, but it also allows users to drill deeper and identify what specific factors may be influencing that risk,” Urban said.
Funded by foundations, the tool is intended as a planning tool for city planners, investors and neighborhood groups. The hope is the map can inform policy to shore up changing neighborhoods or assist longtime residents, according to a report on the project.
Data Driven Detroit catalogued a host of statistics, from tax foreclosures, water shutoffs and blight violations to property values, fire alarm calls and electricity, to determine a “neighborhood change index.” Blocks are assigned one of six colors. In general, more prosperous neighborhoods are yellow, while poorer ones are blue.
Much of the east side is determined to have the least likelihood for change (rising values) while the northwest side has the most.
Among the individual neighborhoods primed for big changes: West Village, East Riverfront, North End and Southwest Detroit, according to the map.
The project removed some of the city’s most prosperous neighborhoods (such as Indian Village, Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest) because they’ve traditionally had stable home ownership rates and property values, as well as downtown and Midtown because they are already amid radical change.
The Kresge Foundation was a key funder of the project, and is investing heavily in Detroit neighborhoods. Its president, Rip Rapson, said planners are committed to ensuring equity in Detroit’s comeback and preventing rising values from forcing out longtime residents.
“We’re trying to build up Detroit and avoid the negative effects of displacement,” Rapson said at an event in May. “No one is doing this anywhere.”
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