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

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events
  6. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.

Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.
Ina Fried, author of Login
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CRISPR pioneer: "Science is on the ballot" in 2020

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

In her three decades in science, Jennifer Doudna said she has seen a gradual erosion of trust in the profession, but the recent Nobel Prize winner told "Axios on HBO" that the institution itself has been under assault from the current administration.

  • "I think science is on the ballot," Doudna said in the interview.

Why it matters: That has manifested itself in everything from how the federal government approaches climate change to the pandemic.