Sunday, February 22, 2015

Detroit: What I have learned so far

1) The most surprising thing I have learned so far is how the city has worked to shut down entire neighborhoods because of the lack of funding and resources first responders - like police and fire - have. You hear about Detroit in the news and how entire neighborhoods are abandoned, but you think it is of peoples own volition to move out of their homes. To learn that in some ways people had no choice BUT to leave is crazy. I cannot imagine being forced out of my childhood home where I have so many memories because there is no money in the budget for first responders to serve my neighborhood, water in being cut off from the area, etc.

2) What I expect to see in Detroit are abandoned buildings - as it seems that many people focus on this negative - but I also expect to see very vibrant buildings and people. I loved that the video George showed had people talking about the positives in Detroit; so often we focus on the negatives when there are just as many, if not more, positives. Detroit is a vibrant city and even in its current state I am certain I will see and feel this vibrancy!

3) A similarity between my hometown of Arlington, MA and Detroit is that it is currently going through a revitalization with the many young, hip people who are moving in. Arlington never experienced the economic hardship that Detroit has experienced, but there were times that lots of people moved out and it did not have a lot of rich culture going on. It is now an "it" place to live and lots of young people, families, etc. are moving in and giving Arlington a flair - for better and for worse. This can be seen in Detroit where lots of young people are moving in and breathing new life into a struggling city.

I am beyond excited to get to Detroit ... 20 more days!

Michelle McGonagle
Class of 2015

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