Global Detroit recently released a study on the impact of Detroit’s fast-growing immigrant neighborhoods over several years. Executive Director Steve Tobocman says its findings point to a hopeful economic and cultural future for the city.
“Immigration is not a zero-sum game, that if immigrants are coming in, that’s at the expense of current residents. In fact, what we found was quite the opposite.” —Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit
Listen: The role of Detroit’s immigrant neighborhoods.
Steve Tobocman is executive director of Global Detroit, a nonprofit community development organization. He says its study examined the impacts of rapid immigrant growth in urban legacy neighborhoods. “This is one of the first studies of its kind, shockingly.” The study looked at the Banglatown/East Davison Village and Chadsey Condon neighborhoods, which Tobocman says are being revitalized by their immigrant populations. “What we’ve seen in these neighborhoods, with little government involvement and very little nonprofit involvement, is two neighborhoods that are starting to thrive.”
Tobocman says gentrification movements and other methods to bring people into the city can exclude long-term residents, but this was not the case with Detroit’s immigrant neighborhoods. “Immigration is not a zero-sum game, that if immigrants are coming in, that’s at the expense of current residents. In fact, what we found was quite the opposite.” While the coexistence within these neighborhoods is strong, Tobocman says more integration should be encouraged. “We need to really invest in social cohesion … we need to build bridges here between immigrants and long-term residents.”