Nov 20, 2019

Detroit's uneven comeback

Photo illustration: Jacob Boomsma; Aïda Amer/Axios

Detroit is coming back, but the bulk of that transformation has been limited to 7 square miles — the downtown core — according to recent research from scholars at Michigan State University and Wayne State University. For context, the city is 139 square miles.

Why it matters: Like Detroit, many laggard cities are beginning to catch up with the thriving metros, but often the transformation is uneven — limited to wealthier residents living in the richest neighborhoods.

"We've has some green shoots of progress, but there is a very commonly held sense that we aren't even close to done yet," Staebler says. "We won't be until we're inclusive about who gets to participate."

  • The city's poverty rate is around 38%, per the census. Compare that to the 12.3% national poverty rate.
  • In the downtown core, Detroit sees openings for new restaurants or shops or salons nearly every week. But outside of downtown, entire streets remain empty. The city has demolished about 20,000 blighted homes since 2014.
  • Student performance at the city's public schools ranked worst in the country in 2018, reports the Detroit Free Press. Among Detroit fourth-graders, 4% scored at or above proficient in math and 5% did so in reading. The nationwide figures for proficiency in math and reading at public schools were 40% and 35%, respectively.

But, but, but: The revitalization of any place starts with downtown, and Detroit is working to re-create what's happened within those 7 square miles across the city.

  • For example, city and county leaders are working on a big-ticket expansion of public transit, as lack of access to transportation is one factor that's keeping many away from job opportunities.
  • Says Staebler, "I'm optimistic that people won't just settle for, 'Downtown's looking good, so our work's done.'"

Go deeper: The new Detroit

Go deeper

The new Detroit

Photo illustration: gangliu10; Aïda Amer/Axios

For decades, the world has pointed to Detroit as a symbol of the entire Rust Belt and the decay of American manufacturing. But the city is attempting to change that narrative — and succeeding.

Why it matters: Detroit may be the starkest example, but its story is mirrored in dozens of U.S. cities — Columbus, Pittsburgh and Toledo among them — that have shared its challenges and are embarking on comebacks of their own.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

Survey: Chinese students outperforming in reading, math and science

Grade three senior high school students study for the upcoming 2019 National College Entrance Exam in Beijing. Photo: Visual China Group/Getty Images

Chinese students tested better in reading, math and science than students in any other country, according to a triennial study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development (OECD).

The big picture: “The quality of their schools today will feed into the strength of their economies tomorrow,” OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria told Bloomberg. Most other OECD countries saw no overall improvement in their students' performances since they were last tested in 2015.

Go deeperArrowDec 3, 2019

ICE arrested 250 foreign students enrolled in the government’s fake university

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

ICE has arrested about 250 foreign students since January for immigration violations because they enrolled in a fake university created by federal officials that advertises a graduate program for technology and computer studies, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Background: Federal law enforcement officials created the University of Farmington based in the Detroit metro area in January 2016. The school was staffed with undercover agents acting as university officials. DHS even went so far as to have the fake school listed on its own website, as well as on an accreditation agency's site.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019