New Kresge Study Looks At Detroit’s Revitalization and Who’s Benefiting

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

Benjy Kennedy (right) and Rip Rapson (center) with Stephen Henderson

We’ve been talking for several years now about Detroit’s resurgence. We’ve contemplated, on this show and as a region, how the city can strike the right balance between investment in downtown and midtown and real change in the city’s neighborhoods.

How can the city attract new people and business while promoting a better quality of residential life for long time residents?

The Kresge Foundation has conducted a survey of confidence in Detroit’s resurgence over the past few years, and this year’s results are telling an interesting story.

At the very least it illustrates the complexity, nuance, and depth of thought that can and should be applied by new developers — to match the complexity, nuance, and depth of thought that’s experienced by most Detroiters when it comes to their changing cityscape.

The survey was created to pressure-test the narrative surrounding Detroit’s recovery,” says Kresge CEO Rip Rapson. “We felt it was really important to try to get underneath the complexity of the entire city.”

I think people feel strongly first that investing in the commercial corridors of this community is really important, that you can’t revitalize a city in one dimension. It’s got to be housing, and commercial revitalization, and safety and education.”

You can see the results of Kresge’s perception survey, here.

To hear more about perceptions about Detroit’s resurgence, click on the audio player above.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

This post is a part of Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

The DJC is a partnership of six media outlets focused on telling critical stories of Detroit and creating engagement opportunities on-air, online and in the community. View the partners work at

Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



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