Well, its the end of college, and panic is officially setting in. I feel like every post I have written is about freaking out for the end of college, so I don’t really need to cover that here.
After 14 weeks, I finally have a portfolio worthy of presenting! While I still have some general revisions to make, I think this portfolio is pretty solid. My project began as an investigation into gentrification pressures in Flint, Michigan. I thought that my anecdotal experiences of a whitening Flint might reveal some trends backed by data. However, I could find very few signs from the in/out-migration and overall demographics to suggest gentrification. The place where one would most expect to see gentrification, housing prices, was also inconclusive. Therefore, I pivoted towards focusing on vacancy and blight, which is a persistent issue in deindustrialized cities. I found substantial support for this problem across the academic literature and within Flint’s Comprehensive Plan.
With the support of my research, I propose two ways to reuse vacant properties, and encourage more in-migration. Through the use of solar fields, large swaths of Flint’s vacant land can be utilized, while the reuse of Flint Central High School could create attractive educational options. Finally, I argue that the real focus on redevelopment should be on increasing educational opportunities. The long-term benefits of a more educated workforce, and more educational opportunities, is an effective strategy of encouraging migration into Flint, and creates an impetus for outside investment.
My project is unique because it directly counters the pro-growth initiatives pursued by Flint, and other industrial cities. The current solutions to shrinking cities often entail the same tools that worked in the past. However, seeking outside investment, infrastructure growth, and a reliance on business has often led to unequal and disparate results. My work pushes back on this logic, and instead advocates for the investment in citizens, and property reuse, which is a more sustainable and fair strategy.
Before my final submission, I need to update my works cited page and clean up some citations in my research. Plus, I need to make my Writer’s Evolution essay more accessible, and put the finishing touches on my writing. That being said, I think version 4.0 of my portfolio/Capstone provides a good look into the overall concept of my project.