Rebuilding the Motor City : An Exploratory Analysis of How Detroit Went Bankrupt and How the City is Using Entertainment Districts as Catalysts of Economic Redevelopment
Lewis, Darryl K.
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The city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July of 2013. The city's estimated debt of approximately $18-$20 billion, represents the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy to date. The factors leading to Detroit's bankruptcy are both numerous and complicated, but can be best summarized by the city's unwillingness to adjust to changes in the economic climate over the past decades. Recent years have seen a resurgence in the city's economy and it has appeared on numerous "top cities to visit" and "most ambitious renovation project" lists. The goal of this research is to examine the role that entertainment has played in Detroit's economic recovery. Specifically, this SIP examines the economic impact of sports arenas and their resulting "entertainment districts", on a city's economy. Sports arenas have long been linked to the economies of urban core cities and the benefits of these arenas on the economy is constantly debated. This SIP details the "ambitious" downtown revitalization project employed by the Detroit's urban regime, which includes sports arenas, entertainment districts, public transit, and walkable urbanism. The goal of this study is to examine Detroit's entertainment-led redevelopment project, and assess whether entertainment is a viable engine of economic redevelopment in urban core cities.